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Bone Marrow Transplant. 1999 Jan;23(2):191-3.

Fatal outcome due to cyclosporine neurotoxicity with associated pathological findings.

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  • 1Division of Clinical Research, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.


We present a case of death likely to be directly due to cyclosporine (CsA) neurotoxicity. To date, there have been no reports of deaths directly due to CsA neurotoxicity, nor has an associated histological lesion been described independent of confounding processes. A 54-year-old male received an HLA-matched-unrelated BMT for CML. He developed progressive encephalopathy and on day +79 had a generalized seizure. All CSF studies were negative for infectious causes. MRI revealed diffuse, symmetrical white matter abnormalities located in the occipital sub-cortex, thalamus, mid brain, pons, and cerebellum which were typical of CsA toxicity. The patient died of central respiratory failure within 72 h of discontinuing CsA. Autopsy revealed diffuse patchy white matter edema and astrocytic injury without evidence of axonopathy, demyelination, microvascular injury, or infectious/inflammatory process. This case demonstrates previously undescribed lethal CsA neurotoxicity and may reveal an associated primary pathological lesion.

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