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Severe multiorgan toxicity after first dose of Capizzi methotrexate in a young adult patient with acute lymphocytic leukaemia
  1. Elena G Caldito,
  2. Jay M Pescatore and
  3. Maha Elsebaie
  1. Medicine, John H Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jay M Pescatore; jay.mark.pescatore{at}


Methotrexate is a versatile antineoplastic and immunosuppressive agent. We report a case of a young adult on the Cancer and Leukaemia Group B 10403 treatment protocol for B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. She has previously completed the induction and consolidation phases with good tolerance then started on Capizzi methotrexate during the interim maintenance phase. Few days after receiving one intermediate dose of methotrexate, she developed severe multiorgan toxicities including pancytopaenia and several dermatologic toxicities. The patient underwent extensive diagnostic workup, with all results negative, pointing eventually towards severe methotrexate toxicity. This case highlights the broad spectrum of toxicities that can occur even with low doses of methotrexate. Capizzi methotrexate therapy implies no leucovorin therapy, hence putting patients at risk for multiorgan toxicity. Our experience reinforces the importance of close monitoring for patients receiving methotrexate, regardless of dose, and the prompt administration of high-dose leucovorin once toxicity suspected.

  • cancer intervention
  • dermatology
  • haematology (drugs and medicines)
  • malignant disease and immunosuppression
  • skin

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  • Contributors All three authors contributed equally. Dr EGC participated in the conception of the manuscript, drafting the work, revision and final approval. Dr ME participated in the design, revisions and final approval. Dr JMP participated in the design, drafting and revising, and final approval of the work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.