Treatment-emergent antidrug antibodies related to PD-1, PD-L1, or CTLA-4 inhibitors across tumor types: a systematic review

January, 01, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


Increased understanding of how the immune system regulates tumor growth has innovated the use of immunotherapeutics to treat various cancers. The impact of such therapies, including programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1)/programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) inhibitors, on the production of antidrug antibodies (ADAs) and their impact on outcomes, is poorly understood. This study aims to evaluate the clinical trial evidence on ADA incidence associated with PD-1, PD-L1, and CTLA-4 inhibitors in the treatment of cancer and to assess associations between treatment administered, ADA incidence, and treatment outcomes.


Embase®, Medline®, and EBM Reviews were searched via the OVID® platform on February 15, 2022. Conference proceedings, clinical trial registries, and global regulatory and reimbursement body websites were also searched. Eligible publications included clinical trials enrolling patients receiving cancer treatment with either PD-1, PD-L1, or CTLA-4 reporting outcomes including incidence or prevalence of ADAs and the impact of immunogenicity on treatment safety and efficacy. Reference lists of eligible publications were also searched. The review was conducted and reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses and evidence quality assessment was conducted using the appropriate Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal tool.


After screening 4160 records and reviewing 97 full publications, a total of 34 publications reporting on 68 trials were included. A further 41 relevant clinical trials were identified on and a further 32 from searches of packaging inserts. In total, 141 relevant trials covering 15 different checkpoint inhibitors and 16 different tumor types were included. Across the included trials, atezolizumab was associated with the highest incidence of ADAs (29.6% of 639 patients), followed by nivolumab (11.2% of 2,085 patients). Combination checkpoint inhibitor treatment appeared to increase the rate of ADAs versus monotherapy. Only 17 trials reported on the impact of ADAs on treatment outcomes with mixed results for the impact of ADAs on treatment efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetics.


Checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of cancer are immunogenic, with the incidence of treatment-emergent ADAs varying between individual therapies. It remains unclear what impact ADAs have on treatment outcomes.

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