Fatal iatrogenic cerebral β-amyloid-related arteritis in a woman treated with lecanemab for Alzheimer's disease

Nat Commun. 2023 Dec 12;14(1):8220. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-43933-5.


We report the case of a 79-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease who participated in a Phase III randomized controlled trial called CLARITY-AD testing the experimental drug lecanemab. She was randomized to the placebo group and subsequently enrolled in an open-label extension which guaranteed she received the active drug. After the third biweekly infusion, she suffered a seizure characterized by speech arrest and a generalized convulsion. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed she had multifocal swelling and a marked increase in the number of cerebral microhemorrhages. She was treated with an antiepileptic regimen and high-dose intravenous corticosteroids but continued to worsen and died after 5 days. Post-mortem MRI confirmed extensive microhemorrhages in the temporal, parietal and occipital lobes. The autopsy confirmed the presence of two copies of APOE4, a gene associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease, and neuropathological features of moderate severity Alzheimer's disease and severe cerebral amyloid angiopathy with perivascular lymphocytic infiltrates, reactive macrophages and fibrinoid degeneration of vessel walls. There were deposits of β-amyloid in meningeal vessels and penetrating arterioles with numerous microaneurysms. We conclude that the patient likely died as a result of severe cerebral amyloid-related inflammation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease* / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Arteritis*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy* / complications
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy* / pathology
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vasculitis, Central Nervous System*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • lecanemab