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Pneumonitis and pneumonitis-related death in cancer patients treated with programmed cell death-1 inhibitors: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Authors Cui P, Ma J, Wang F, Zhang J, Tao H, Hu Y

Received 14 June 2017

Accepted for publication 31 July 2017

Published 25 September 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1259—1271


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Deyun Wang

Peng-Fei Cui,1–3,* Jun-Xun Ma,1,* Fei-Xue Wang,1,* Jing Zhang,1 Hai-Tao Tao,1 Yi Hu1

First Department of Medical Oncology, 2Department of Graduate Administration, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing, 3Health Bureau of the 75709 Army, Central Theater of the Chinese PLA, Wuhan, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: We conducted a meta-analysis of published clinical trials to determine the relationship between the risks of pneumonitis and pneumonitis-related death and programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) inhibitor treatment in patients with cancer.
Materials and methods: We examined clinical trials from the Medline and Google Scholar databases. Data from original studies and review articles were also cross-referenced and evaluated. Randomized Phase II and Phase III trials of pembrolizumab and nivolumab treatment in patients with cancer were eligible for the analysis. Information about the participants, all-grade and high-grade pneumonitis, and pneumonitis-related death was extracted from each study and analyzed.
Results: After the exclusion of ineligible studies, 12 clinical trials were included in the analysis. The odds ratio (OR) for all-grade pneumonitis after PD-1 inhibitor treatment was 4.59 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.51–8.37; P<0.00001), and the OR for high-grade pneumonitis after PD-1 inhibitor treatment was 3.83 (95% CI: 1.54–9.48; P=0.004). The OR for pneumonitis-related death after PD-1 inhibitor treatment was 2.47 (95% CI: 0.41–14.81; P=0.32). Moreover, the OR for all-grade pneumonitis after nivolumab/ipilimumab combination therapy versus nivolumab monotherapy was 3.54 (95% CI: 1.52–8.23; P=0.003), and that for high-grade pneumonitis after nivolumab/ipilimumab combination therapy versus nivolumab monotherapy was 2.35 (95% CI: 0.45–12.13; P=0.31). Treated cancer appeared to have no effect on the risk of pneumonitis.
Conclusion: Our data showed that PD-1 inhibitors were associated with increased risks of all-grade and high-grade pneumonitis compared with chemotherapy or placebo controls in patients with cancer. However, we noted no significant difference between patients treated with a PD-1 inhibitor and patients treated with control regimens with respect to the risk of pneumonitis-related death.

Keywords: nivolumab, pembrolizumab, PD-1 inhibitors, immune mediated pneumonitis

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