Infusion-related reaction to ramucirumab plus FOLFIRI in patients with advanced colorectal cancer

Int J Clin Oncol. 2021 Nov;26(11):2025-2028. doi: 10.1007/s10147-021-02004-9. Epub 2021 Sep 2.


Background: An infusion-related reaction (IRR) is a well-known adverse event related to monoclonal antibodies, and antihistamine premedication is recommended to prevent IRRs. Ramucirumab plus FOLFIRI therapy is the standard second-line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Ramucirumab is a fully human antibody, suggesting that the incidence of IRRs is lower, however, the current recommendation for the proper use of ramucirumab is antihistamine premedication, but the incidence and severity of ramucirumab-induced IRR without antihistamine premedication have not been elucidated.

Methods: A retrospective study to evaluate the incidence of ramucirumab-induced IRRs in unresectable CRC patients treated by ramucirumab plus FOLFIRI therapy. If the incidence of IRR without antihistamine premedication was not higher than that of cetuximab in a previous report (5.7%), planning a prospective study was considered.

Results: A total of 147 patients with unresectable CRC who had been treated by ramucirumab plus FOLFIRI therapy were identified. Of them, 106 (72%) patients received intravenous antihistamine premedication. An IRR occurred in 2 patients (1.4%), 1 grade 2 and 1 grade 3. They received antihistamine and steroid premedication. On the other hand, IRRs were not observed in 41 patients without antihistamine premedication, and the incidence of IRRs was significantly lower compared with the previous report of cetuximab (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: The incidence of ramucirumab-induced IRRs without antihistamine premedication is low. Not using antihistamine premedication can decrease medical costs. These findings warrant further investigation in large-scale cohorts to clarify the incidence and severity of ramucirumab-induced IRRs and further clarify the proper use of ramucirumab.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Infusion reaction; Ramucirumab.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized* / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols* / adverse effects
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ramucirumab
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized