Anticancer Res. 2021 Nov;41(11):5839-5845. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.15403.
BACKGROUND: Plasmablastic myeloma is an aggressive subtype of multiple myeloma with overall poor prognosis. Spinal cord compression and hyperammonemic encephalopathy are two grave complications of multiple myeloma with significantly poor survival outcomes.
CASE REPORT: A 49-year-old male presented with a 5-day history of worsening abdominal distention with inability to walk, urinate or defecate. Imaging findings of innumerable spinal osteolytic lesions with paraspinal masses coupled with a bone marrow biopsy of ≥70% plasmablasts confirmed the diagnosis of plasmablastic myeloma. Despite spinal decompression surgery, the patient remained paraplegic. Three myeloma-directed chemotherapies failed, eventually leading to him developing hyperammonemic encephalopathy culminating in his death.
CONCLUSION: Plasmablastic myeloma is a rare entity which poses therapeutic challenges especially in patients with negative prognosticators, including high-risk cytogenetic markers, extraosseous involvement with cord compression and hyperammonemic encephalopathy. Early aggressive management with consideration of novel therapeutic alternatives, especially in treatment refractory disease, can be worthwhile.