INTRODUCTION: Neurological immune-related adverse events are a rare but potentially deadly complication after immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) treatment. As multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease, it is unknown how ICI treatment may affect outcomes.

METHODS: We analyzed the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database for pembrolizumab, atezolizumab, nivolumab, ipilimumab, avelumab, and durvalumab 2 years prior their FDA approval until December 31, 2017, to include all cases with confirmed diagnosis/relapse of MS. We also included cases reported in the literature and a patient from our institution.

RESULTS: We identified 14 cases of MS with median age of presentation of 52 years. Indications for ICI included melanoma in 7 (36.36%) cases, non-small cell lung carcinoma in 2 (18.18%) cases, 1 case (9.09%) each of pleural mesothelioma, renal cell carcinoma, and colorectal cancer, and unreported in 2 (18.18%) cases. History of MS was confirmed in 8 (57.1%) cases. Median time to beginning of symptoms was 29 days with rapid disease progression; two patients died due to their relapse. Median time for symptom resolution was 8 weeks. Outcomes did not vary by comparing CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors.

CONCLUSIONS: Reported MS relapses after ICI are rare, but the adverse events described include rapid neurologic progression and death. Larger and prospective studies are warranted to assess disability and long-term outcomes and outweigh the risks of starting immunotherapy in patients with MS.

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Published in Clinical and Translational Oncology, v. 21, issue 10.

© 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Clinical and Translational Oncology. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12094-019-02060-8

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Ms. Jayswal was supported by the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Shared Resource of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center (P30CA177558).