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Papers of the Week

2020 Oct

J Scleroderma Relat Disord



Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in a patient with systemic sclerosis treated with methotrexate: A case report and literature review.


Simopoulou T, Tsimourtou V, Katsiari C, Vlychou M, Bogdanos DP, Sakkas LI
J Scleroderma Relat Disord. 2020 Oct; 5(3):NP1-NP6.
PMID: 35382519.


Reactivation of viruses occurs in autoimmune disorders in the setting of certain immunosuppressive drugs. We describe a 54-year-old female with systemic sclerosis and extensive cutaneous calcinosis who had been treated with methotrexate for 18 months and presented with headache and neurological deficits. She was diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a rare disease caused by JC virus. Methotrexate was discontinued and mirtazapine plus mefloquine were added. The patient showed a slow recovery and five years later she had complete resolution of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy clinical manifestations. Calcinosis had a limited response to various agents and severely affected daily activities of the patient. This case report, highlights the importance of clinical suspicion for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in every patient with immune-mediated disease, even on weak immunosuppressant, who presents with central nervous system manifestations and also the unmet therapeutic need for systemic sclerosis-associated calcinosis.