COVID-19 Vaccines Deemed Safe for Renal Cell Carcinoma Patients on Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

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COVID-19 vaccination appears safe for patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) receiving immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy, according to research presented in a poster at the International Kidney Cancer Symposium (IKCS) 2021.

Researchers conducted a retrospective study comparing the results of COVID-19 vaccination in 36 RCC patients receiving ICIs and 36 patients with a history of RCC who were not receiving systemic cancer therapy.

In the ICI cohort, patients received nivolumab alone (44%), nivolumab and cabozantinib (33%), pembrolizumab and axitinib (14%), pembrolizumab alone (6%), or pembrolizumab and lenvatinib (7%). Patients were on ICI treatment for a median of 333 days before the first vaccine dose.


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All patients received at least 1 dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine between December 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, with at least 3 months of follow-up.

In the ICI cohort, 53% of patients received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 42% received the Moderna vaccine, and 5% received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In the control cohort, 72% of patients received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 25% received the Moderna vaccine, and 3% received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In the control cohort, 1 patient developed premature ventricular contractions after vaccination.

In the ICI cohort, 8 patients (22%) experienced at least 1 adverse event (AE) within 14 days of vaccination. There were 3 patients with chills, 2 each with headache and fatigue, and 1 each with fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, arm pain, redness at the injection site, and rash.

Two patients in the ICI cohort developed a new or worsening immune-related AE that required systemic steroids and/or a treatment hold. One patient developed adrenal insufficiency, and 1 developed colitis.

The researchers speculated that the higher rate of post-vaccination symptoms in the ICI cohort is likely related to more frequent visits relative to the control individuals. The team also noted that the rate of new or worsening immune-related AEs was no higher than previously reported.

There was 1 case of COVID-19 detected in the ICI cohort after 1 vaccine dose. None of the patients developed COVID-19 after receiving 2 doses.

The researchers concluded that these data support the safety of COVID-19 vaccination in patients receiving ICIs.

Disclosures: No disclosures were reported.

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor’s coverage of IKCS 2021 by visiting the conference page.

Reference

Dzimitrowicz H, Hwang JK, Shah R, et al. COVID-19 vaccination in patients with renal cell carcinoma receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors. IKCS 2021; November 5-6, 2021. Abstract N19.



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