Rheumatic immune-related adverse events of checkpoint therapy for cancer: case series of a new nosological entity.

Published on Mar 1, 2017in RMD Open
· DOI :10.1136/RMDOPEN-2016-000412
Cassandra Calabrese13
Estimated H-index: 13
(Cleveland Clinic),
Elizabeth Kirchner8
Estimated H-index: 8
(Cleveland Clinic)
+ 2 AuthorsLeonard H. Calabrese72
Estimated H-index: 72
(Cleveland Clinic)
Immunotherapy of cancer with checkpoint inhibitors has been associated with a spectrum of autoimmune and systemic inflammatory reactions known as immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Rheumatic irAEs are infrequently reported and extensively described. Here, we report our experience over an 18-month period with 15 patients evaluated in the rheumatology department for rheumatic irAEs. We identified 13 patients without pre-existing autoimmune disease (AID) who subsequently developed rheumatic irAEs, and two with established AID referred pre-emptively. irAEs encountered included: inflammatory arthritis, sicca syndrome, polymyalgia rheumatica-like symptoms and myositis. All cases required glucocorticoids, and three required a biological agent. Rheumatic irAEs led to temporary or permanent cessation of immunotherapy in all but five patients. One patient with pre-existing AID experienced a flare after starting immunotherapy. Our findings underscore that rheumatic irAEs are complex, at times require additional immunosuppressive therapy, and may influence ongoing immunotherapy regimens for the primary disease. Similar irAEs will be increasingly seen as checkpoint inhibitors adopted as standard of care in the community.
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