WARNING: IMMUNE-MEDIATED ADVERSE REACTIONS
YERVOY (ipilimumab) can result in severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions. These immune-mediated reactions may involve any organ system; however, the most common severe immune-mediated adverse reactions are enterocolitis, hepatitis, dermatitis (including toxic epidermal necrolysis), neuropathy, and endocrinopathy. The majority of these immune-mediated reactions initially manifested during treatment; however, a minority occurred weeks to months after discontinuation of YERVOY.
Assess patients for signs and symptoms of enterocolitis, dermatitis, neuropathy, and endocrinopathy and evaluate clinical chemistries including liver function tests (LFTs), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) level, and thyroid function tests, at baseline and before each dose.
Permanently discontinue YERVOY and initiate systemic high-dose corticosteroid therapy for severe immune-mediated reactions.
Click here for Important Safety Information, including the Boxed WARNING regarding Immune-mediated adverse reactions for YERVOY.
Recommended Dose Modifications
Interrupt or slow the rate of infusion in patients with mild or moderate infusion reactions. Discontinue in patients with severe or life-threatening infusion reactions.
Endocrine: Withhold YERVOY for symptomatic endocrinopathy. Resume YERVOY in patients with complete or partial resolution of adverse reactions (Grade 0-1) and who are receiving <7.5 mg prednisone or equivalent per day. Permanently discontinue YERVOY for symptomatic reactions lasting 6 weeks or longer or an inability to reduce corticosteroid dose to 7.5 mg prednisone or equivalent per day.
Ophthalmologic: Permanently discontinue YERVOY for Grade 2-4 reactions not improving to Grade 1 within 2 weeks while receiving topical therapy or requiring systemic treatment.
All Other Organ Systems: Withhold YERVOY for Grade 2 adverse reactions. Resume YERVOY in patients with complete or partial resolution of adverse reactions (Grade 0-1) and who are receiving <7.5 mg prednisone or equivalent per day. Permanently discontinue YERVOY for Grade 2 reactions lasting 6 weeks or longer, an inability to reduce corticosteroid dose to 7.5 mg prednisone or equivalent per day, and Grade 3 or 4 adverse reactions.
Immune-mediated enterocolitis, including fatal cases, can occur with YERVOY. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of enterocolitis (such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, mucus or blood in stool, with or without fever) and of bowel perforation (such as peritoneal signs and ileus). In symptomatic patients, rule out infectious etiologies and consider endoscopic evaluation for persistent or severe symptoms. Withhold YERVOY for moderate enterocolitis; administer anti-diarrheal treatment and, if persistent for >1 week, initiate systemic corticosteroids (0.5 mg/kg/day prednisone or equivalent). Permanently discontinue YERVOY in patients with severe enterocolitis and initiate systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent). Upon improvement to ≤Grade 1, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue over at least 1 month. In clinical trials, rapid corticosteroid tapering resulted in recurrence or worsening symptoms of enterocolitis in some patients. Consider adding anti-TNF or other immunosuppressant agents for management of immune-mediated enterocolitis unresponsive to systemic corticosteroids within 3-5 days or recurring after symptom improvement. In patients receiving YERVOY 3 mg/kg in Trial 1, severe, life-threatening, or fatal (diarrhea of ≥7 stools above baseline, fever, ileus, peritoneal signs; Grade 3-5) immune-mediated enterocolitis occurred in 34 YERVOY-treated patients (7%) and moderate (diarrhea with up to 6 stools above baseline, abdominal pain, mucus or blood in stool; Grade 2) enterocolitis occurred in 28 YERVOY-treated patients (5%). Across all YERVOY-treated patients (n=511), 5 (1%) developed intestinal perforation, 4 (0.8%) died as a result of complications, and 26 (5%) were hospitalized for severe enterocolitis. Infliximab was administered to 5 (8%) of the 62 patients with moderate, severe, or life-threatening immune-mediated enterocolitis following inadequate response to corticosteroids.
Immune-mediated hepatitis, including fatal cases, can occur with YERVOY. Monitor LFTs (hepatic transaminase and bilirubin levels) and assess patients for signs and symptoms of hepatotoxicity before each dose of YERVOY. In patients with hepatotoxicity, rule out infectious or malignant causes and increase frequency of LFT monitoring until resolution. Withhold YERVOY in patients with Grade 2 hepatotoxicity. Permanently discontinue YERVOY in patients with Grade 3-4 hepatotoxicity and administer systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent). When LFTs show sustained improvement or return to baseline, initiate corticosteroid tapering and continue over 1 month. Across the clinical development program for YERVOY, mycophenolate treatment has been administered in patients with persistent severe hepatitis despite high-dose corticosteroids. In patients receiving YERVOY 3 mg/kg in Trial 1, severe, life-threatening, or fatal hepatotoxicity (AST or ALT elevations >5× the ULN or total bilirubin elevations >3× the ULN; Grade 3-5) occurred in 8 YERVOY-treated patients (2%), with fatal hepatic failure in 0.2% and hospitalization in 0.4%. An additional 13 patients (2.5%) experienced moderate hepatotoxicity manifested by LFT abnormalities (AST or ALT elevations >2.5× but ≤5× the ULN or total bilirubin elevation >1.5× but ≤3× the ULN; Grade 2). In a dose-finding trial, Grade 3 increases in transaminases with or without concomitant increases in total bilirubin occurred in 6 of 10 patients who received concurrent YERVOY (3 mg/kg) and vemurafenib (960 mg BID or 720 mg BID).
Immune-mediated dermatitis, including fatal cases, can occur with YERVOY. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of dermatitis such as rash and pruritus. Unless an alternate etiology has been identified, signs or symptoms of dermatitis should be considered immune-mediated. Treat mild to moderate dermatitis (e.g., localized rash and pruritus) symptomatically; administer topical or systemic corticosteroids if there is no improvement within 1 week. Withhold YERVOY in patients with moderate to severe signs and symptoms. Permanently discontinue YERVOY in patients with severe, life-threatening, or fatal immune-mediated dermatitis (Grade 3-5). Administer systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent). When dermatitis is controlled, corticosteroid tapering should occur over a period of at least 1 month. In patients receiving YERVOY 3 mg/kg in Trial 1, severe, life-threatening, or fatal immune-mediated dermatitis (e.g., Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, or rash complicated by full thickness dermal ulceration, or necrotic, bullous, or hemorrhagic manifestations; Grade 3-5) occurred in 13 YERVOY-treated patients (2.5%); 1 patient (0.2%) died as a result of toxic epidermal necrolysis and 1 additional patient required hospitalization for severe dermatitis. There were 63 patients (12%) with moderate (Grade 2) dermatitis.
Immune-mediated neuropathies, including fatal cases, can occur with YERVOY. Monitor for symptoms of motor or sensory neuropathy such as unilateral or bilateral weakness, sensory alterations, or paresthesia. Withhold YERVOY in patients with moderate neuropathy (not interfering with daily activities). Permanently discontinue YERVOY in patients with severe neuropathy (interfering with daily activities), such as Guillain-Barre-like syndromes. Institute medical intervention as appropriate for management for severe neuropathy. Consider initiation of systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent) for severe neuropathies. In patients receiving YERVOY 3 mg/kg in Trial 1, 1 case of fatal Guillain-Barré syndrome and 1 case of severe (Grade 3) peripheral motor neuropathy were reported. Across the clinical development program of YERVOY, myasthenia gravis and additional cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome have been reported.
Immune-mediated endocrinopathies, including life-threatening cases, can occur with YERVOY. Monitor patients for clinical signs and symptoms of hypophysitis, adrenal insufficiency (including adrenal crisis), and hyper- or hypothyroidism. Patients may present with fatigue, headache, mental status changes, abdominal pain, unusual bowel habits, and hypotension, or nonspecific symptoms which may resemble other causes such as brain metastasis or underlying disease. Unless an alternate etiology has been identified, signs or symptoms should be considered immune-mediated. Monitor clinical chemistries, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) level, and thyroid function tests at the start of treatment, before each dose, and as clinically indicated based on symptoms. In a limited number of patients, hypophysitis was diagnosed by imaging studies through enlargement of the pituitary gland. Withhold YERVOY in symptomatic patients and consider referral to an endocrinologist. Initiate systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent) and initiate appropriate hormone replacement therapy. In patients receiving YERVOY 3 mg/kg in Trial 1, severe to life-threatening immune-mediated endocrinopathies (requiring hospitalization, urgent medical intervention, or interfering with activities of daily living; Grade 3-4) occurred in 9 YERVOY-treated patients (1.8%). All 9 patients had hypopituitarism, and some had additional concomitant endocrinopathies such as adrenal insufficiency, hypogonadism, and hypothyroidism. Six of the 9 patients were hospitalized for severe endocrinopathies. Moderate endocrinopathy (requiring hormone replacement or medical intervention; Grade 2) occurred in 12 patients (2.3%) and consisted of hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, hypopituitarism, and 1 case each of hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome. The median time to onset of moderate to severe immune-mediated endocrinopathy was 2.5 months and ranged up to 4.4 months after the initiation of YERVOY.
Other Immune-mediated Adverse Reactions, Including Ocular Manifestations
Permanently discontinue YERVOY for clinically significant or severe immune-mediated adverse reactions. Initiate systemic corticosteroids (1-2 mg/kg/day of prednisone or equivalent) for severe immune-mediated adverse reactions. Monitor patients for signs or symptoms of ocular toxicity, which may include blurred vision and reduced visual acuity. Immune-mediated ocular toxicity may be associated with retinal detachment or permanent vision loss. Administer corticosteroid eye drops for uveitis, iritis, or episcleritis. Permanently discontinue YERVOY for immune-mediated ocular disease unresponsive to local immunosuppressive therapy. If uveitis occurs in combination with other immune-mediated adverse reactions, consider a Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome, which has been observed in patients receiving YERVOY and may require treatment with systemic steroids to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss. In Trial 1, the following clinically significant immune-mediated adverse reactions were seen in <1% of YERVOY-treated patients: cytopenias, nephritis, pneumonitis, meningitis, pericarditis, uveitis, and iritis. Across 21 dose-ranging trials administering YERVOY at doses of 0.1 to 20 mg/kg (n=2478), the following likely immune-mediated adverse reactions were also reported with <1% incidence unless specified: angiopathy, temporal arteritis, vasculitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, conjunctivitis, blepharitis, episcleritis, scleritis, iritis, leukocytoclastic vasculitis, erythema multiforme, psoriasis, arthritis, autoimmune thyroiditis, neurosensory hypoacusis, autoimmune central neuropathy (encephalitis), myositis, polymyositis, ocular myositis, cytopenias (2.5%), and nephritis.
Based on its mechanism of action, YERVOY can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. The effects of YERVOY are likely to be greater during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with a YERVOY-containing regimen and for 3 months after the last dose of YERVOY.
It is not known whether YERVOY is secreted in human milk. Advise women to discontinue breastfeeding during treatment with YERVOY and for 3 months following the final dose.
Common Adverse Reactions
The most common adverse reactions (≥5%) in patients who received YERVOY at 3 mg/kg were fatigue (41%), diarrhea (32%), pruritus (31%), rash (29%), and colitis (8%).
Please see U.S. Full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNING regarding immune-mediated adverse reactions for YERVOY.
- YERVOY [package insert]. Princeton, NJ: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; 2018.
- Data on file. YERV 008. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Princeton, NJ. April 2011.
- Hodi FS, O’Day SJ, McDermott DF, et al. Improved survival with ipilimumab in patients with metastatic melanoma. N Engl J Med. 2010;363(8):711-723.
- O’Day S, Hodi FS, McDermott D, et al. A phase III, randomized, double-blind, multicenter study comparing monotherapy with ipilimumab or gp100 peptide vaccine and the combination in patients previously treated, unresectable stage III or IV melanoma: Study MDX010-20. Plenary session presentation (abstract 4). American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting; June 4-8, 2010; Chicago, IL.
- Fong L, Small EJ. Anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 antibody: the first in an emerging class of immunomodulatory antibodies for cancer treatment. J Clin Oncol. 2008;26(32):5275-5283.
- Mellman I, Coukos G, Dranoff G. Cancer immunotherapy comes of age. Nature. 2011;480(7378):480-489.