PURPOSE: Immune checkpoint inhibition reactivates the immune response against cancer cells in multiple tissue types and has been shown to induce durable responses. However, for patients with autoimmune disorders, their conditions can worsen with this reactivation. We sought to identify, among patients with lung and renal cancer, how many harbor a comorbid autoimmune condition and may be at risk of worsening their condition while on immune checkpoint inhibitors such as nivolumab and pembrolizumab.

METHODS: An administrative health care claims database, Truven MarketScan, was used to identify patients diagnosed with lung and renal cancer from 2010 to 2013. We assessed patients for diagnosis of autoimmune diseases 1 year prior to or after diagnosis of cancer using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes for 41 autoimmune diseases. Baseline characteristics and other comorbid conditions were recorded.

RESULTS: More than 25% of patients with both lung and renal cancer had a comorbid autoimmune condition between 2010 and 2013 and were more likely to be women, older, and have more baseline comorbidities.

CONCLUSIONS: This population presents a dilemma to physicians when deciding to treat with immune checkpoint inhibitors and risk immune-related adverse events. Future evaluation of real-world use of immune checkpoint inhibitors in patients with cancer with autoimmune diseases will be needed.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Cancer Informatics, v. 16, p. 1-5.

© The Author(s) 2017

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The project described was supported by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant UL1TR001998-01.