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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-18

The impact of immune checkpoint inhibitor-related adverse events and their immunosuppressive treatment on patients' outcomes

1 Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Houston, Texas, USA
2 Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
3 Department of Biostatistics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Yinghong Wang
Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, The University of Texas md Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Unit 1466, Houston, Texas 77030
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JIPO.JIPO_12_18

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Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICPIs) are gaining more popularity as a treatment for advanced cancers. However, immune-related adverse events (irAEs) limit their use. We aimed to assess the impact of irAEs and their treatment on clinical and survival outcomes. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed records of the patients who received ICPIs between 2011 and 2017. Descriptive analyses were employed to compare different groups. Kaplan–Meier curves and log-rank tests were used to estimate and compare overall survival durations. Results: Of 427 identified patients, 202 (47.3%) had one or more irAEs. Overall, the patients who developed irAEs had better overall survival than did patients with no-irAEs, regardless of immunosuppressant treatment (P < 0.01). Patients with mild irAEs who did not require immunosuppressive treatment had longer overall survival duration than did patients without irAEs (P < 0.01). Patients with three or more irAEs had longer median overall survival compared to patients with two or less irAEs (P = 0.01). Infliximab was associated with shorter duration of steroid use as compared to steroid treatment only (2 months [standard deviation (SD), 8] vs. 4 months [SD, 4]). Steroid treatment for >30 days was associated with higher rate of infections compared to shorter duration (P = 0.03). Conclusion: IrAEs are associated with favorable overall survival, regardless of immunosuppression treatment requirement. IrAEs involving multiple organs appeared to be beneficial for overall survival. Early infliximab use shortens the duration of steroid treatment and therefore balances better cancer outcomes with decreased risk of infection.

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