Risk factors for and pre-medications to prevent cetuximab-induced infusion reactions in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

Waseem Touma, Sami S. Koro, Jessica Ley, Tanya M. Wildes, Loren Michel, Yu Tao, Douglas Adkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives Cetuximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody, is the only targeted therapy approved for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Infusion reactions (IRs) occur in 6-18% of patients pre-medicated with diphenhydramine. Evidence for clinical risk factors for IRs is limited and the benefit of additional pre-medication to prevent IRs is unclear. Materials and methods A retrospective, single institution study of 243 SCCHN patients treated with cetuximab to evaluate potential risk factors for IRs and to assess the efficacy of additional pre-medications (nebulized albuterol and intravenous (IV) corticosteroids and/or H2-blockers) to decrease the risk of IR. Results IR (grades 1-4) and high grade (grades 3-4 only) IR occurred in 47 (19.3%) and 16 (6.6%) patients, respectively. Multivariate analysis identified Caucasian race (OR7.11, p = 0.003), medication allergy (OR3.74, p = 0.002), and blood eosinophils >3% (OR2.75, p = 0.01) independently increased the risk of IR; Caucasian race (OR5.57, p = 0.007) and medication allergy (OR4.10, p = 0.0007) increased the risk of high grade IR. IR (grades 1-4) and high grade IR occurred in 31.8% and 22.7% pre-medicated with diphenhydramine alone. Univariate analysis identified albuterol, famotidine, and corticosteroids decreased the risk of high grade IR. Furthermore, there was a significant difference between the possible combinations of the pre-medications and the risk of high grade IR by Fisher Exact test (p = 0.003) whereby the combination of albuterol, famotidine and corticosteroids was effective in preventing high grade IR. Thirty (64%) of the 47 patients who developed an IR were re-challenged and did not experience a recurrence of an IR. Conclusion These data may be used to identify patients at higher risk for cetuximab-induced IR who may be advised to not receive cetuximab or who may benefit from additional pre-medications to decrease the risk of a high grade IR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-900
Number of pages6
JournalOral Oncology
Volume50
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014

Keywords

  • Cetuximab
  • Infusion reaction
  • Pre-medication
  • Risk factors

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