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Risk of hematologic toxicities with programmed cell death-1 inhibitors in cancer patients: a meta-analysis of current studies

Authors Sui JD, Wang Y, Wan Y, Wu YZ

Received 2 March 2018

Accepted for publication 18 April 2018

Published 8 June 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 1645—1657


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Tuo Deng

Jiang-Dong Sui, Ying Wang, Yue Wan, Yong-Zhong Wu

Radiation Oncology Center, Chongqing University Cancer Hospital & Chongqing Cancer Institute & Chongqing Cancer Hospital, Chongqing, China

Background: Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) inhibitor-related hematologic toxicities are a category of rare but clinically serious and potentially life-threatening adverse events; however, little is known about their risks across different treatment regimens and tumor types. The objective of this study was to compare the incidences of PD-1 inhibitor-related hematologic toxicities among different therapeutic regimens and tumor types.
Methods: Twenty-six original articles on PD-1 inhibitor trials were identified based on a PubMed search completed on September 26, 2017. The incidences of hematologic toxicities were collected.
Results: A total of 26 studies containing 5,088 patients were included in the meta-analysis. PD-1 inhibitor monotherapy was associated with an increased risk of all-grade anemia in cancer patients (5%, 95% CI 4%–6%), particularly in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) (8%, 95% CI 6%–12%), compared with all-grade thrombocytopenia (2%, 95% CI 1%–5%), leukopenia (2%, 95% CI 1%–3%), and neutropenia (1%, 95% CI 0–1%). However, low incidences of high-grade hematologic toxicities were observed in cancer patients treated with PD-1 inhibitor monotherapy. The use of PD-1 inhibitors in combination with ipilimumab, peptide vaccines, or chemotherapy had significantly higher risks than PD-1 inhibitor monotherapy for all-grade anemia (13%, 95% CI 5%–31%), thrombocytopenia (6%, 95% CI 2%–18%), leukopenia (5%, 95% CI 1%–35%), neutropenia (4%, 95% CI 1%–26%), and only high-grade thrombocytopenia (4%, 95% CI 1%–15%). In addition, all-grade and high-grade hematologic toxicities in chemotherapy and everolimus treatment arms were more frequent than in PD-1 inhibitor monotherapy arms.
Conclusion: The risks of PD-1 inhibitor-related hematologic toxicities were higher in RCC than in other cancers, and during combination therapy. These results may contribute toward enhancing awareness among clinicians about frequent clinical monitoring when managing PD-1 inhibitors.

Keywords: nivolumab, pembrolizumab, immunotherapy, hematological adverse events

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