Objective: To evaluate the frequency of HLA class I and II alleles associated with traditional forms of inflammatory arthritis in patients with immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI)-induced inflammatory arthritis as compared with population controls.
Methods: High-resolution HLA typing was performed on 27 patients with ICI-induced inflammatory arthritis and 726 healthy controls. Genotyping at the shared epitope (SE) locus (HLA DRB1) was performed on 220 RA cases. Allele-positivity rates and frequency of having at least one SE allele were compared using Fisher's exact test between ICI-induced inflammatory arthritis and healthy controls. Frequency of having at least one SE allele was also compared between ICI-induced inflammatory arthritis and RA cases.
Results: Twenty-six patients with ICI-induced inflammatory arthritis were of European descent, and one was African American. In those 26 patients, 16 (61.5%) had at least one SE allele, significantly different from healthy controls of European descent, in whom 299 (41.2%) had at least one SE allele (odds ratio 2.3, P = 0.04). The allele-positivity rate of DRB1*04: 05 was also higher in the ICI-induced inflammatory arthritis group. The ICI-induced inflammatory arthritis population and RA patients of European descent did not differ in frequency of having at least one SE allele, but ICI-induced inflammatory arthritis patients were more likely to be autoantibody-negative for RF and anti-CCP antibodies.
Conclusion: Patients with ICI-induced inflammatory arthritis of European descent were more likely to have at least one SE allele than healthy controls. Further studies are needed to validate these findings and investigate whether a unique immunogenetic framework increases risk for different immune-related adverse events.
Keywords: cancer immunotherapy; immune checkpoint inhibitors; immunogenetics; inflammatory arthritis.
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