Journal Article
. 2018 Sep; 6(1):83.
doi: 10.1186/s40425-018-0393-z.

Neurologic immune-related adverse events associated with adjuvant ipilimumab: report of two cases

Christine A Garcia 1 Alex El-Ali 2 Tanya J Rath 2 Lydia C Contis 3 Vikram Gorantla 1 Jan Drappatz 1 Diwakar Davar 4 
  • PMID: 30170622
  •     43 References
  •     19 citations


Background: PD-1 and CTLA-4 inhibitors are associated with several adverse events including a spectrum of immune-related adverse effects (irAEs). Neurologic irAEs are uncommon occurrences with varied presentations. We describe two separate cases of ipilimumab associated meningoencephalomyelitis and demyelinating polyneuropathy with unusual presentations.

Case Presentation: Two melanoma patients were treated with ipilimumab in the adjuvant setting. The first patient developed a meningoencephalitis following 3 doses of ipilimumab. MRI imaging of the brain confirmed leptomeningeal enhancement although cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analyses were negative for malignant cells consistent with meningoencephalomyelitis. Although she initially improved following treatment with steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin, she subsequently relapsed. She was successfully treated with infliximab and made a complete neurological recovery. A second patient developed progressive lower extremity weakness following two doses of ipilimumab. MRI imaging of the spine confirmed diffuse nerve root enhancement consistent with acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (AIDP). He was treated with high dose steroids with resolution of neurological symptoms. Both patients remain disease free.

Conclusions: Neurological irAEs are uncommon adverse events in the context of CTLA-4 and/or PD-1 inhibitor therapy. Care must be taken to distinguish these from leptomeningeal disease. Early recognition of neurological irAEs is critical for the initiation of specific anti-inflammatory agents to prevent and potentially reverse neurological sequelae.

Keywords: Autoimmune; CTLA-4; Cancer; Guillain Barre syndrome; Immune-related adverse events; Immunotherapy; Infliximab; Ipilimumab; Melanoma; Meningoencephalomyelitis; Neurotoxicity; TNF-α.

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