COVID-19 pneumonia in a patient with adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma

J Clin Exp Hematop. 2020 Dec 15;60(4):174-178. doi: 10.3960/jslrt.20030. Epub 2020 Sep 3.


Although some patients with COVID-19 develop only mild symptoms, fatal complications have been observed among those with comorbidities. As patients with cancer are immunocompromised, they are thought to have a high risk of severe illness associated with COVID-19. We report a COVID-19 patient with adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma (ATL) who was treated using favipiravir. A 69-year-old woman with lymphoma-type ATL was treated using cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisolone and mogamulizumab (M-CHOP) with substantial efficacy. However, in cycle 4 of M-CHOP therapy, she developed fever with mild cough. The patient was admitted to the hospital and CT revealed bilateral ground-glass opacities. SARS-CoV-2 was detected by RT-PCR and the patient was diagnosed with COVID-19. Considering severe immunosuppression caused by ATL, we initiated favipiravir therapy. Subsequently, the fever improved without antipyretics and her C-reactive protein level decreased rapidly. SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests were negative on days 17 and 18 of favipiravir therapy, and the patient was discharged without residual disease on the final CT. This is the first documented case of COVID-19 in a patient with ATL. Although severe immunosuppression caused by ATL was present, severe COVID-19 pneumonia did not develop. The immunosuppressed condition caused by hematological malignancy may not always be a risk factor for severe illness associated with COVID-19. Further accumulation of data regarding COVID-19 in patients with hematological malignancies is warranted to clarify the risk factors for severe illness, the best-in-class antiviral agent, and the optimal treatment strategy in this population.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma; favipiravir; immunocompromised.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • COVID-19 / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia-Lymphoma, Adult T-Cell / pathology
  • Leukemia-Lymphoma, Adult T-Cell / virology*