Extranodal, natural-killer/T-cell lymphoma of nasal type is a rare but aggressive disease usually presenting as progressive necrotic lesions in the nasal cavity that responds poorly to chemotherapy. In this paper, we report a relapsing, chemorefractory case of extranodal natural-killer/T-cell lymphoma responding to checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy with pembrolizumab.
A 32-year-old Hispanic woman with a history of recurrent sinusitis and preseptal abscess presented with a hoarse voice, swelling around the right eye, and diplopia. Laryngoscopy showed infiltrating tissue extending to bilateral laryngeal ventricles and false vocal cords. On immunohistochemical examination of laryngeal biopsy, the neoplastic cells showed positivity for CD3 (cytoplasmic), CD7, CD56, granzyme B, CD30, and Epstein–Barr virus-encoded ribonucleic acid (RNA). Extranodal natural-killer/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type, was confirmed. In the absence of distant organ involvement, the decision was to perform chemotherapy with etoposide, ifosfamide, mesna, cisplatin, and dexamethasone (VIPD protocol) followed by concurrent chemoradiation with weekly doses of cisplatin and two cycles of VIPD as adjuvant treatment. However, 1 month after completion of the treatment; disease recurrence was demonstrated. The patient was scheduled to receive salvage chemotherapy with steroid, methotrexate, ifosfamide, L- asparaginase, and etoposide (SMILE) protocol and CD30-targeting monoclonal antibodies. However, the mass was chemorefractory without response to either l-asparaginase-based salvage chemotherapy in combination with high-dose methotrexate or brentuximab vedotin. However, this case of chemorefractory extranodal natural-killer/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type, responded well to the novel drug pembrolizumab, which was able to control the disease.
Checkpoint inhibitors are potential treatment option in selected chemorefractory extranodal natural-killer/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type, cases.