The report, recently published in Blood Advances, demonstrates that the immunosuppressant, tocilizumab, could be an effective therapy against COVID-19 symptoms for patients with multiple myeloma and other blood cancers. Additional findings from the report suggest that blood cancer patients may have atypical COVID-19 symptoms.
The patient subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, classified as severe and treated with antiviral and corticosteroid therapies that did not fully resolve his symptoms. A CT scan showed characteristics of pneumonia in the patient’s lungs and his pro-inflammatory cytokine levels were found to be high.
Ten days after receiving tocilizumab, the patient’s inflammatory cytokine levels decreased, his chest tightness had been resolved and a further CT scan showed clearance of pneumonia characteristics. The patient was then discharged from hospital.
In addition, Zheng suggested that patients with hematologic malignancies may not show other COVID-19 symptoms, including a cough and fever, as the patient in this study presented with chest tightness and shortage of breath, but no other COVID-19 symptoms.
Zheng concluded: “Tocilizumab was effective in the treatment of COVID-19 in this patient with multiple myeloma, but further prospective and randomized clinical trials are needed to verify the findings.”