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Intravenous Immune Globulin (IVIG) Therapy After Unsuccessful Treatment with Corticosteroid and Cyclosporine A in Pfeifer-Weber-Christian Disease: A Case Report

Geunwoong Noh, Chi Wha Han

(Allergy and Clinical Immunology Center, Cheju Halla General Hospital, Jeju City, Jeju, South Korea)

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e929519

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.929519

BACKGROUND: Pfeifer-Weber-Christian disease (PWCD), also referred to as idiopathic nodular panniculitis, is a rare idiopathic disease characterized by lobular panniculitis of adipose tissue with systemic symptoms and multiple organ involvement and is usually treated with corticosteroids and cyclosporine A. We report a case of PWCD that was unresponsive to standard treatment but responded to intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) therapy.
CASE REPORT: A 35-year-old Korean woman presented with fever, malaise, myalgia, and painful nodules in the left breast. Histology of the breast nodules showed lobular panniculitis consistent with PWCD. She did not respond to corticosteroid and cyclosporine A. She was effectively treated with intravenous immune globulin (IVIG). IVIG therapy began with 60 g (1 g/kg) 4 times per week, 2 times every other week. Subsequently, the IVIG dose was reduced for maintenance therapy to 25 g (400 mg/kg) twice every other week and monthly. The patient showed immediate and dramatic improvement. General signs and symptoms, such as fever, malaise, and myalgia, were absent, and the masses had nearly subsided, with several very small hard nodules remaining for 3 months until the time of this report.
CONCLUSIONS: IVIG was an effective immunomodulatory therapeutic for PWCD in this case. This report shows that PWCD is a rare condition that is difficult to diagnose, but the histopathology of nodular panniculitis supports the diagnosis. In cases that do not respond to standard immunosuppressive therapy, including corticosteroids and cyclosporine A, IVIG therapy may lead to a favorable response with rapid symptomatic relief.

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