Rates and Risk of Atrial Arrhythmias in Patients Treated With Ibrutinib Compared With Cytotoxic Chemotherapy

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The American journal of cardiology


There is increasing evidence that rates of atrial arrhythmias (AA), specifically atrial fibrillation and flutter are elevated in patients treated with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, ibrutinib; however, the exact risk of ibrutinib-associated AA is not definitively established. We conducted a retrospective study of 137 patients diagnosed with B-cell malignancies treated with ibrutinib compared with 106 patients treated with chemotherapy for the same cancers in order to quantify the rates and risk of AA in a "real-world" sample of cancer patients. Fisher's exact test was used to evaluate for any statistically significant differences between groups. Logistic regression was used to generate odds ratios, adjusting for potential confounders. Incidence of AA was 14% (n = 17) in ibrutinib-treated patients compared with 3% (n = 3) in patients treated with chemotherapy (p = 0.009). Ibrutinib-treated patients were significantly older (mean age 67 vs 63 years, p = 0.003); however, there were no other significant differences in baseline characteristics. Ibrutinib use, age, hypertension, and previous use of ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blocker use, β blocker use, and aspirin use were independently associated with incident arrhythmias. In multivariable analysis, patients treated with ibrutinib were associated with a 5-fold increased risk of developing AA (odds ratio = 5.18, 95% confidence interval 1.42 to 18.89). In conclusion, the rates and risk of AA are higher in patients treated with ibrutinib compared with chemotherapy, and this study provides strong evidence that ibrutinib itself is an independent risk factor for the development of incident AA.

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