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Critical Care

, 23:88 | Cite as

The pharmacokinetic challenge of voriconazole therapy for cerebral aspergillosis in patients treated with ibrutinib

  • Rémy Nyga
  • Laura Simon
  • Taieb Chouaki
  • Caroline Delette
  • Youssef Bennis
  • Cedric Joseph
  • Jean-Pierre Marolleau
  • Michel Slama
  • Elie Zogheib
  • Julien MaizelEmail author
Open Access
Letter
  • 230 Downloads

Abbreviations

ARDS

Acute respiratory distress syndrome

BAL

Bronchoalveolar lavage

CLL

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

CNS

Central nervous system

CS

Corticosteroids

CYP

Cytochrome P450

CRP

C-reactive protein

IA

Invasive aspergillosis

ICU

Intensive care unit

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging

VRCZ

Voriconazole

Ibrutinib is a new Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor approved for the management of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) that has recently been associated with an increasing number of cases of invasive aspergillosis (IA). Ghez et al. reported 33 patients with invasive fungal infections, corresponding to IA in 27/33 with cerebral aspergillosis in 40% of these cases [1]. Voriconazole (VRCZ) is the first-line treatment for IA including central nervous system (CNS) infection due to its good penetration across the blood-brain barrier. However, VRCZ requires therapeutic drug monitoring to ensure effective therapy. In the case reported here, CNS aspergillosis was responsible for brain edema requiring corticosteroids. However, corticosteroids have been very recently reported to be a new cause of rapid VRCZ metabolism, inducing low plasma VRCZ concentrations and therefore limited efficacy [2].

A 69-year-old man with a history of refractory CLL treated with ibrutinib was admitted to the ICU with ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) secondary to invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (Fig. 1a–c). Therefore, intravenous VRCZ was initiated and ibrutinib was stopped. Three weeks later, brain MRI was performed following the onset of neurological signs and revealed bilateral nodular lesions consistent with cerebral IA associated with brain edema requiring corticosteroids (methylprednisolone) (Fig. 1d). Corticosteroid therapy significantly reduced brain edema and improved clinical symptoms. However, several days after, a new elevation of galactomannan (GM) antigen was observed in serum and BAL fluid despite VRCZ therapy. Elevated galactomannan was associated with a marked decrease of plasma VRCZ concentrations, requiring an increase of the VRCZ dosage (Fig. 2). Corticosteroids were stopped 2 weeks later, followed by a marked increase of plasma VRCZ concentrations and negative GM antigen (Fig. 2).
Fig. 1

Diagnosis of IPA. a Axial chest CT scan showing bilateral upper lobe lung nodules; b BAL culture on the 8th day showing whitish and greenish powdery, granular growth of Aspergillus; c Microscopic examination with Lactophenol Cotton Blue staining showing Aspergillus fumigatus conidiophores and free conidia (× 400); d Brain MRI revealing multiple bilateral nodular lesions, gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted transverse brain MRI

Fig. 2

Time-course of voriconazole and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations in the presence and absence of corticosteroids. The X-axis corresponds to time (days). The left Y-axis corresponds to plasma voriconazole concentration (mg/L) and the right Y-axis corresponds to serum CRP levels (mg/L). Plasma voriconazole and CRP concentrations are represented by a black line and a dotted line, respectively. The gray shaded area indicates the therapeutic range of voriconazole (between 1 and 5 mg/L). The lower part of the figure corresponds to the course of serum galactomannan antigen (serum GM) and bronchoalveolar lavage galactomannan antigen (BAL GM). NB: L-Amb: liposomal amphotericin-B

The reduction of plasma VRCZ levels is a poorly known effect by physicians associated with concomitant corticosteroid therapy, as corticosteroids are potent inducers of CYP2C19 and CYP3A in humans, both of which are implicated in VRCZ metabolism [3]. Also inflammation, as reflected by the C-reactive protein (CRP) concentration, also increases plasma VRCZ concentrations as a result of decreased metabolism [2]. Corticosteroid therapy can therefore lead to a rapid decrease of plasma VRCZ concentrations.

This situation could become increasingly frequent in view of the growing number of cases of CNS aspergillosis observed in patients treated with ibrutinib. Physicians must therefore be aware of the drug-drug interaction between VRCZ and corticosteroids for cytochrome P450, which can lead to decreased plasma VRCZ concentrations and therefore limited efficacity against the Aspergillus.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Not applicable.

Funding

None

Availability of data and materials

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article.

Authors’ contributions

RN wrote the manuscript and performed the literature search. RN, LS and CD performed data acquisition. TC performed galactomannan antigen assay and BAL culture, YB performed therapeutic drug monitoring. RN, EZ, TC and JM analyzed the data and approved the final manuscript. All authors accepted the final version of the manuscript.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

According to French legislation, the patient was informed and accepted in the department of hematology that data concerning his case might be subsequently used for scientific analyses and could be published with anonymized data.

Consent for publication

This paper concerns a retrospective case report of an individual patient. According to French legislation, the patient was informed and accepted in the department of hematology that data concerning his case might be subsequently used for scientific analyses, and could be published with anonymized data.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

References

  1. 1.
    Ghez D, et al. Early-onset invasive aspergillosis and other fungal infections in patients treated with ibrutinib. Blood. 2018;131(17):1955–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Naito T, Yamada T, Mino Y, Kawakami J. Impact of inflammation and concomitant glucocorticoid administration on plasma concentration of triazole antifungals in immunocompromised patients. Clin Chim Acta. 2015;441:127–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hyland R, Jones BC, Smith DA. Identification of the cytochrome P450 enzymes involved in the N-oxidation of voriconazole. Drug Metab Dispos. 2003;31(5):540–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s). 2019

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rémy Nyga
    • 1
  • Laura Simon
    • 2
  • Taieb Chouaki
    • 3
  • Caroline Delette
    • 2
  • Youssef Bennis
    • 4
    • 5
  • Cedric Joseph
    • 6
    • 7
  • Jean-Pierre Marolleau
    • 2
    • 8
  • Michel Slama
    • 1
    • 5
  • Elie Zogheib
    • 1
    • 5
  • Julien Maizel
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Service de Médecine Intensive RéanimationAmiens CEDEX 1France
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Hematology and Cellular TherapyAmiens University HospitalAmiensFrance
  3. 3.Medical Parasitology and Mycology DepartmentAmiens University HospitalAmiensFrance
  4. 4.Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Clinical PharmacologyAmiens University HospitalAmiensFrance
  5. 5.MP3CV-EA 7517, Picardy Jules Verne UniversityAmiensFrance
  6. 6.Department of Infectious DiseasesAmiens University HospitalAmiensFrance
  7. 7.AGIR: Microbiology Research Unit, EA4294, Equipe AGIRUniversité de Picardie Jules VerneAmiensFrance
  8. 8.EA 4666, Picardy Jules Verne UniversityAmiensFrance

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