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Case report
Transformation to plasmablastic lymphoma in CLL upon ibrutinib treatment


Chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL) is the most common leukaemia in the Western world. Ibrutinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is the treatment of choice on relapse or p53-dysfunction. Richter’s transformation to diffuse large B cell lymphoma is most often seen. However, transformation to other aggressive lymphomas as plasmablastic lymphoma (PBL) does occur. PBL is an extremely aggressive lymphoma and is usually treated using a CHOP-like regimen (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone/dexamethasone), but with poor outcome. The only curative treatment is allogeneic stem cell transplant (ASCT).

We report on a case of CLL treated with ibrutinib that underwent transformation to PBL. Due to high expression of CD138, we added daratumumab to the chemotherapy with a good, but transitory response. The case did not make it to an ASCT. Targeting CD138 by daratumumab may be added to chemoimmune therapy for PBL.

  • haematology (incl blood transfusion)
  • chemotherapy

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