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BMJ Case Rep. 2015 May 12;2015. pii: bcr2015209622. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2015-209622.

More than a headache: a case of cetuximab-induced aseptic meningitis.

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Department of Medicine, Jacobi Medical Center, Bronx, New York, USA.
Department of Medicine-Oncology, Jacobi Medical Center, Bronx, New York, USA.


While the wide belief is that monoclonal antibodies, due to their large size, would not be able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, we present a rare case of aseptic meningitis induced by intravenous cetuximab administration. A 58-year-old man with tonsillar squamous cell cancer presented with headache and fever, which started approximately 1 h after his first dose of cetuximab (loading dose of 400 mg/m(2) equalling 800 mg). CT scan of the head was non-revealing and laboratory tests including complete blood count, serum comprehensive metabolic panel and coagulation profile were within normal limits. Aseptic meningitis in the setting of cetuximab therapy has been reported on 6 previous occasions. Consistent with these prior reports, it is interesting to note that this case also occurred after administration of the initial higher loading dose of Cetuximab. This is of interest as Cetuximab is more frequently being dosed at 500 mg/m(2) (higher dose) every 2 weeks in colorectal cancer.

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