Issue: 2018 > January > case report

Glucarpidase treatment for methotrexate intoxication: a case report and review of the literature

A.D. Boelens, R.A.A. Mathôt, A.P.J. Vlaar, C.S.C. Bouman
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High-dose methotrexate (MTX) induced acute kidney injury can lead to sustained high systemic MTX levels and severe toxicity. A 39-year-old man with lymphoblastic T-cell lymphoma was admitted to our intensive care unit with elevated serum creatinine and prolonged high serum MTX levels. Standard supportive care was complemented by the addition of a relatively novel agent, glucarpidase, which rapidly lowered the extracellular levels of MTX. Several case series support this effect of glucarpidase, but no randomised controlled trial has been performed to show this leads to better outcome. Furthermore, glucarpidase might negatively affect leucovorin rescue therapy. Lastly, glucarpidase carries a significant financial burden. Based on the current evidence we cannot recommend glucarpidase until further research elucidates its role in the treatment of MTX toxicity. There is no randomised clinical evidence to support its use in severe cases and theoretical evidence suggests that after prolonged exposure to high MTX levels glucarpidase administration is unable to reverse high intracellular MTX. We recommend that new randomised controlled studies be aimed at early administration of glucarpidase in patients with high MTX levels shortly after administration to prevent direct toxic effects of MTX on kidney function and further uptake into cells.