Immune checkpoint inhibitors that target the programmed death 1 (PD-1) signaling pathway have recently been approved for use in advanced pretreated non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma. Clinical trial data suggest that these drugs may have adverse effects on the kidney, but these effects have not been well described. We present 6 cases of acute kidney injury in patients with lung cancer who received anti-PD-1 antibodies, with each case displaying evidence of acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) on kidney biopsy. All patients were also treated with other drugs (proton pump inhibitors and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) linked to AIN, but in most cases, use of these drugs long preceded PD-1 inhibitor therapy. The association of AIN with these drugs in our patients raises the possibility that PD-1 inhibitor therapy may release suppression of T-cell immunity that normally permits renal tolerance of drugs known to be associated with AIN.
Keywords: PD-1; PD-1 inhibitor; PDCD1; Programmed cell death 1; acute interstitial nephritis (AIN); acute kidney injury (AKI); advanced melanoma; anti–PD-1 antibody; immune checkpoint inhibitor; ipilimumab; nephrotoxicity; nivolumab; non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); pembrolizumab; renal biopsy.
Copyright © 2016 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.