Uncovering the Burden of Immune-Related Adverse Events in Immunotherapy: Insights from a Nationally Representative Sample

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Target Oncol


BACKGROUND: Immune checkpoint inhibitors have shown promising efficacy in multiple malignancies and, therefore, have been increasingly used over the past decade. Clinical data have suggested anti-cancer efficacy associated with immune-related adverse events that could have added healthcare resource utilization and costs.

OBJECTIVE: We used a nationwide dataset to investigate the association between immune-related adverse events and healthcare resource utilization, charges, and mortality among patients receiving various immune checkpoint inhibitors for indicated cancers.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of the National Inpatient Sample to identify patients hospitalized in the USA for immunotherapy between October 2015 and 2018. Data between patients who developed immune-related adverse events were compared to those who did not. Baseline characteristics, inpatient complications, and associated charges were collected and analyzed between these two groups.

RESULTS: Patients who developed immune-related adverse events in the hospital had high incidences of acute kidney injury, non-septic shock, and pneumonia, and managing these complications significantly contributed to higher healthcare resource utilization. The average charge of admission was highest in patients who developed an infusion reaction, followed by colitis, and adrenal insufficiency. In terms of cancer type, renal cell carcinoma had the highest charges, followed by Merkel cell carcinoma.

CONCLUSIONS: Immune checkpoint inhibitor-based regimens have shifted the treatment landscape among multiple malignancies and their use continues to expand. However, a significant proportion of patients still develop severe adverse effects leading to increased healthcare costs and impacting patients' quality of life. Closer attention should be given to recognizing and managing immune-related adverse events according to guidelines across healthcare facilities and clinical practice settings.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors; Retrospective Studies; Quality of Life; Carcinoma, Renal Cell; Immunotherapy; Skin Neoplasms; Kidney Neoplasms

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