Hyperprogression under Immunotherapy

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 May 30;20(11):2674. doi: 10.3390/ijms20112674.


Immunotherapy is now widely prescribed in oncology, leading to the observation of new types of responses, including rapid disease progression sometimes reported as hyperprogression. However, only a few studies have assessed the question of hyperprogression and there is no consensual definition of this phenomenon. We reviewed existing data on hyperprogression in published studies, focusing on reported definitions, predictive factors, and potential biological mechanisms. Seven studies retrospectively assessed hyperprogression incidence, using various definitions, some based on the tumoral burden variation across time with repeated computed-tomography (CT) scan, others based on an association of radiological and clinical criteria. Reported hyperprogression incidence varied between 4% and 29% of all responses, mostly in multi-tumor cohorts and with patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors. Hyperprogression correlated with worse chances of survival than standard progression in two studies. However, no strong predictive factors of hyperprogression were identified, and none were consistent across studies. In total, hyperprogression is a frequent pattern of response under immunotherapy, with a strong impact on patient outcome. There is a need for a consensual definition of hyperprogression. Immunotherapy should be stopped early in cases where there is suspicion of hyperprogression.

Keywords: hyperprogression; immunotherapy; new patterns of response; pseudoprogression; treatment beyond progression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy* / methods
  • Incidence
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Prognosis