Multiple myeloma (MM) remains a largely incurable disease in the long term despite positive responses to first-line chemotherapy. Herein we report the case of a 68-year-old woman who died following treatment with bortezomib plus dexamethasone for refractory MM. The combination was associated with significant antitumor activity, but bacterial pneumonia/sepsis was followed by bilateral cytomegalovirus pneumonia with herpes simplex co-infection, and this was almost certainly the cause of death. Physicians need to pay careful attention when treating patients with refractory MM with bortezomib plus dexamethasone, and to be mindful that antiviral therapy may be needed in some cases.

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