Neuromuscular Complications of Targeted Anticancer Agents: Can Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors Induce Myasthenia Gravis? Getting Answers From a Case Report up to a Systematic Review
Ziogas DC, Mandellos D, Theocharopoulos C, Lialios PP, Bouros S, Ascierto PA, Gogas H
Frontiers in oncology. 2021;11:727010
More than 40 tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have received hematological or oncological indications over the past 20 years, following the approval of imatinib, and many others are currently being tested in clinical and preclinical level. Beyond their common toxicities, no certain agent from this large class of molecularly targeted therapies was strongly associated with "off-target" impairment of neuromuscular transmission, and although myasthenia gravis (MG) is a well-characterized autoimmune disorder, only few sporadic events proven by serologically detected causative autoantibodies and/or by positive electrophysiological tests are reported in the literature. Herein, we present the first case of anti-MUSK (+) MG in a woman with metastatic BRAF-mutant melanoma after long-term treatment with dabrafenib (BRAF inhibitor) and trametinib (MEK inhibitor). Triggered by this report, a systematic literature review was conducted, summarizing all other cancer cases that developed MG, after exposure to any type of targeted agent and regardless of the underlying malignancy. All available data on the clinical diagnosis, the potential of administered TKIs to induce a seropositive myasthenic syndrome, the immune and non-immune-mediated pathogenesis of postsynaptic damage, and the challenging management of this neuromuscular toxicity were collected and discussed. In the presented case, MG was confirmed by both autoantibodies and nerve-conduction tests, while its reactivation after TKIs rechallenge supports a more than coincidental association. The following review identified 12 cancer cases with TKI-related MG in six case reports and one case series. In most of them, the myasthenia diagnosis was challenging, since the clinical symptomatology of fatigable weakness was not corroborating with consistent laboratory and electrophysiological findings. In fact, anti-AchR titers were positive in five and anti-MuSK only in the abovementioned individual. The symptomatology corresponded to TKI discontinuation and standard treatment with pyridostigmine and prednisolone; intravenous immunoglobulin was added only in three, and two required mechanical ventilation. In an era where TKIs will be prescribed more frequently for various malignancies, even in combinations with immune-checkpoint inhibitors, this report synthesizes their risk for neuromuscular complications and increases the clinicians' awareness in order to extend the on-treatment and overall survival of TKI-treated cancer patients.
Subcutaneous immunoglobulin therapy for hypogammaglobulinemia secondary to malignancy or related drug therapy
Windegger TM, Lambooy CA, Hollis L, Morwood K, Weston H, Fung YL
Transfusion Medicine Reviews. 2016;31((1):):45-50
Immunoglobulin replacement therapy (IRT) has an important role in minimizing infections and improving the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with immunodeficiency, who would otherwise experience recurrent infections. These plasma-derived products are available as intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) or subcutaneous immunoglobulin (SCIg). The global demand for these products is growing rapidly and has placed pressure on supply. Some malignancies and their treatment (as well as other medical therapies) can lead to secondary hypogammaglobulinemia or secondary immunodeficiency (SID) requiring IRT. Although IVIg use in this cohort has well-established therapeutic benefits, little is known about SCIg use. A literature search in July 2015 found only 7 published articles on SCIg use. These articles found that both IRT modes had equivalent efficacy in regard to reduction of bacterial infections. In addition, SCIg was reported to produce higher serum IgG trough levels compared with IVIg on equivalent dosage with the added benefit of fewer adverse effects. Patient HRQoL reports demonstrate preference for SCIg because of reduced adverse effects and hospital visits. There are no health economic models published on SCIg use in SID, but models on primary immunodeficiency disease and IRT conclude that SCIg provided greater economic benefits than IVIg. The findings of this small number of reports suggest that SCIg therapy for patients with SID is likely to be beneficial for both the patient and health care providers. To substantiate wider use of SCIg in SID, larger and more detailed studies are needed to accurately quantify the effectiveness of SCIg.