Systematic review with meta-analysis: effectiveness of anti-inflammatory therapy in immune checkpoint inhibitor-induced enterocolitis

Hajir Ibraheim, Samantha Baillie, Mark A. Samaan, Hamzah Abu-Sbeih, Yinghong Wang, Nicholas J. Talley, Michael P. Jones, Nick Powell*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    4 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionised cancer treatment, but at the cost of off-target immune-mediated organ damage. This includes checkpoint inhibitor-induced enterocolitis which frequently requires hospitalisation and may be life-threatening. Empiric treatment typically includes corticosteroids and infliximab, although no large-scale studies have confirmed their effectiveness. 

    Aim: To investigate the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory therapy in checkpoint inhibitor-induced enterocolitis. 

    Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies reporting clinical outcomes of checkpoint inhibitor-induced enterocolitis in adult cancer patients treated with anti-inflammatory agents. We searched Medline, EMBASE, and the Cochrane library through April and extracted the proportion of patients responding to anti-inflammatory therapy. Variation in effect size was studied using a random-effects meta-regression analysis, with checkpoint inhibitor agent and tumour type as the variables. 

    Results: Data were pooled from 1210 treated patients across 39 studies. Corticosteroids were effective in 59% (95% CI 54- 65) of patients, with response significantly more favourable in patients treated with anti-PD-1/L1 monotherapy, compared with anti-CTLA-4 containing regimens (78%, 95% CI 69-85 vs 56 %, 95% CI 49-63, P = 0.003), and more favourable in lung cancer patients compared with melanoma patients (88%, 95% CI 62-97 vs 55%, 95% CI 47-63, P = 0.04). Infliximab was effective in 81% (95% CI 73-87) of patients, and vedolizumab in 85% (95% CI 60-96). 

    Conclusion: Corticosteroids, infliximab and vedolizumab, are effective in the treatment of checkpoint inhibitor-induced enterocolitis. Checkpoint inhibitor regimen and cancer type were significant moderators in response to corticosteroid therapy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1432-1452
    Number of pages21
    JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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