Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor-Related Cytopenias: About 68 Cases from the French Pharmacovigilance Database

Cancers (Basel). 2022 Oct 14;14(20):5030. doi: 10.3390/cancers14205030.


Immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI)-related cytopenias have been poorly described. This study aimed to further characterize ICI-related cytopenias, using the French pharmacovigilance database. All grade ≥ 2 hematological adverse drug reactions involving at least one ICI coded as suspected or interacting drug according to the World Health Organization criteria and reported up to 31 March 2022, were extracted from the French pharmacovigilance database. Patients were included if they experienced ICI-related grade ≥ 2 cytopenia. We included 68 patients (75 ICI-related cytopenias). Sixty-three percent were male, and the median age was 63.0 years. Seven patients (10.3%) had a previous history of autoimmune disease. Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) and autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) were the most frequently reported (50.7% and 25.3%, respectively). The median time to onset of ICI-related cytopenias was 2 months. Nearly half were grade ≥ 4, and three patients died from bleeding complications of refractory ITP and from thromboembolic disease with active AIHA. Out of 61 evaluable responses, complete or partial remission was observed after conventional treatment in 72.1% of ICI-related cytopenias. Among the 10 patients with ICI resumption after grade ≥ 2 ICI-related cytopenia, three relapsed. ICI-related cytopenias are rare but potentially life-threatening. Further studies are needed to identify risk factors of ICI-related cytopenias.

Keywords: aplastic anemia; autoimmune cytopenia; autoimmune hemolytic anemia; immune checkpoint inhibitor; immune thrombocytopenia; immune-related adverse event; neutropenia; pure red cell aplasia.

Grant support

This research received no external funding.