Ibrutinib-Associated Atrial Fibrillation

JACC Clin Electrophysiol. 2018 Dec;4(12):1491-1500. doi: 10.1016/j.jacep.2018.06.004. Epub 2018 Aug 29.


Ibrutinib, a novel and potent Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for a variety of B-cell lymphomas. However, its use is associated with an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF), ranging from 4% to 16%. We reviewed the original clinical trials that led to the approval of ibrutinib, as well as several other prospective and retrospective studies, to better appreciate the incidence of ibrutinib-associated AF. Based on 16 studies included in our analysis, the incidence of ibrutinib-associated AF was 5.77 per 100 person-years, which is much higher than rates previously reported with ibrutinib and compared with the general adult population. New onset AF in cancer patients is associated with a significantly higher risk of heart failure and thromboembolism, even after adjusting for known risk factors. In addition, ibrutinib poses unique challenges due to its interactions with many medications that are commonly used to manage AF. Ibrutinib also inhibits platelet activation and decisions regarding anticoagulation have to be carefully weighed against this increased risk of bleeding. Ibrutinib's interaction with calcium channel blockers, digoxin, amiodarone, and direct oral anticoagulants can result in either ibrutinib or other drug-related toxicity and careful selection and dose adjustment may be needed. Ibrutinib-associated AF can be a therapy-limiting side effect and physicians should be familiar with the special management considerations imposed by this agent. We review the potential mechanisms and incidence of ibrutinib-associated AF and propose an algorithm for its management.

Keywords: B-cell lymphoma; anticoagulation; atrial fibrillation; ibrutinib.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Atrial Fibrillation / chemically induced*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles / adverse effects*
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use
  • Pyrimidines / adverse effects*
  • Pyrimidines / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • ibrutinib
  • Adenine