Systematic review of infectious events with the BTK inhibitor ibrutinib in the treatment of haematologic malignancies.
Objective: Ibrutinib is an irreversible inhibitor of Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) in B-lymphocytes as well as other kinases including interleukin-2-inducible T-cell kinase (ITK) in CD4+ Th2 regulatory T-cells. Increased infections have been observed in patients taking ibrutinib. The overall incidence has not been systematically evaluated.
Methods: The published literature and conference abstracts of prospective clinical trials using ibrutinib in haematologic malignancies were identified and reviewed using PubMed, Google Scholar, and HemOnc. org per PRISMA guidelines. Infectious events with a focus on pneumonia were collated per the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events Version 4.03 grading.
Results: Infectious complications are common, occurring in 56% of patients taking single-agent ibrutinib and 52% of those on combination therapy. Approximately one in five patients developed pneumonia, which was the major contributor to a 2% rate of death from infections. Many of the observed pneumonias were due to opportunistic pathogens.
Conclusions: Ibrutinib use requires prudent consideration of the impacts on host immunity. We identified a high rate of serious adverse infectious events within prospective clinical trials. Data suggest a role of both BTK and ITK inhibition for the increased events. There was considerable variability in the reporting of adverse events between trials, journals, and conference reports.