Survivorship in immune therapy: Assessing toxicities, body composition and health-related quality of life among long-term survivors treated with antibodies to programmed death-1 receptor and its ligand

Academic Article


  • Aim: Antibodies to programmed death-1 receptor and its ligand (anti–PD-1/PD-L1) produce durable responses in many cancers. However, the long-term effects of anti–PD-1/PD-L1 blockade are not well defined. We identified the toxicities, health outcomes and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) amongst long-term survivors treated with anti–PD-1/PD-L1. Methods: We assessed 217 patients who received anti–PD-1/PD-L1 for melanoma, renal cell carcinoma or non–small-cell lung carcinoma between 2009 and 2017, with survival greater than two years after treatment. Patient and tumour characteristics, immune-related adverse events (irAEs), cardiometabolic parameters (glucose, blood pressure, body mass index [BMI]), body composition (using automated body composition analyser, computed tomography and Slice-o-matic software) and HRQoL outcomes were tracked. Results: Among the included patients, most were men (70.3%) and at anti–PD-1/PD-L1 initiation had an average age of 61.0 years and median BMI of 28.5. Median overall survival was not reached; 33 (15.2%) died during the follow-up primarily from progressive cancer (n = 28). At the last follow-up, most patients' Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status was 0 (38%) or 1 (41%). There was no difference in blood pressure, glucose or BMI from baseline to two years after treatment initiation. Body composition showed increased adiposity (p = 0.05), skeletal muscle mass (p = 0.03) and skeletal muscle gauge (p = 0.04). We observed chronic irAEs at the last follow-up including hypothyroidism (10.6%), arthritis (3.2%), adrenal insufficiency (3.2%) and neuropathy (2.8%). New diagnoses of type 2 diabetes (6.5%) and hypertension (6.0%) were observed, with uncertain relationship to anti–PD-1/PD-L1. Patient-reported outcomes compared favourably with cancer and general populations, although younger age (p = 0.003) and need for subsequent therapy (p = 0.03) were associated with worse HRQoL outcomes. Conclusion: Durable responses to anti–PD-1/PD-L1 therapy and favourable HRQoL outcomes are encouraging. Chronic events may be more common than previously thought although no clear chronic adverse cardiometabolic effects were observed.
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    Author List

  • Patrinely JR; Young AC; Quach H; Williams GR; Ye F; Fan R; Horn L; Beckermann KE; Gillaspie EA; Sosman JA
  • Start Page

  • 211
  • End Page

  • 220
  • Volume

  • 135