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BCNU toxicity presenting with a large pericardial and pleural effusion

Ganapathy S. Krishnan, Vijay Chaudhary, Anas Al-Janadi, Jeyanthi Ramanarayanan, Karl J. D’Silva

Ann Transplant 2008; 13(1): 44-47

ID: 843643

Available online: 2008-03-28

Published: 2008-03-28

Background:    Carmustine (BCNU), 1, 3-bis (2-chloroethyl)-1-nitosourea, is an alkylating agent which is commonly used as a part of conditioning regimen for autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. Despite the widespread use of BCNU therapy in adults, cardiopulmonary toxicity presenting with cardiac tamponade has not been reported.
Case Report:    We present a patient who received BCNU as part of her conditioning regimen followed by autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. This patient subsequently developed bilateral upper lobe pulmonary infiltrates with bilateral pleural effusions and a large pericardial effusion which was a result of BCNU toxicity.
Conclusions:    Early institution of glucocorticoids for patients receiving high dose BCNU containing chemotherapeutic regimens has shown to significantly reduce BCNU induced cardio-pulmonary toxicity

Keywords: BCNU, Pericardial Effusion, Pleural Effusion, Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma