Pericardial disease in patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors

Jingyi Gong, Zsofia Dora Drobni, Amna Zafar, Thiago Quinaglia, Sarah Hartmann, Hannah K. Gilman, Vineet K. Raghu, Carlos Gongora, Meghan E. Sise, Raza M. Alvi, Leyre Zubiri, Anju Nohria, Ryan Sullivan, Kerry L. Reynolds, Daniel Zlotoff, Tomas G. Neilan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background There are limited data on the occurrence, associations and outcomes of pericardial effusions and pericarditis on or after treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). Methods This was a retrospective study at a single academic center that compared 2842 consecutive patients who received ICIs with 2699 age-and cancer-type matched patients with metastatic disease who did not receive ICI. A pericardial event was defined as a composite outcome of pericarditis and new or worsening moderate or large pericardial effusion. The endpoints were obtained through chart review and were blindly adjudicated. To identify risk factors associated with a pericardial event, we compared patients who developed an event on an ICI with patients treated with an ICI who did not develop a pericardial event. Cox proportional-hazard model and logistical regression analysis were performed to study the association between ICI use and pericardial disease as well as pericardial disease and mortality. An additional 6-week landmark analysis was performed to account for lead-time bias. Results There were 42 pericardial events in the patients treated with ICI (n=2842) over 193 days (IQR: 64-411), yielding an incidence rate of 1.57 events per 100 person-years. There was a more than fourfold increase in risk of pericarditis or a pericardial effusion among patients on an ICI compared with controls not treated with ICI after adjusting for potential confounders (HR 4.37, 95% CI 2.09 to 9.14, p<0.001). Patients who developed pericardial disease while on an ICI had a trend for increased all-cause mortality compared with patients who did not develop a pericardial event (HR 1.53, 95% CI 0.99 to 2.36, p=0.05). When comparing those who developed pericardial disease after ICI treatment with those who did not, a higher dose of corticosteroid pre-ICI (>0.7 mg/kg prednisone) was associated with increased risk of pericardial disease (HR 2.56, 95% CI 1.00 to 6.57, p=0.049). Conclusions ICI use was associated with an increased risk of development of pericardial disease among patients with cancer and a pericardial event on an ICI was associated with a trend towards increase in mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere002771
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 18 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • immunotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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