Nivolumab Treatment for Cancers in the HIV-infected Population

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Nivolumab is a standard treatment option in several advanced malignancies, but safety and efficacy are still unknown in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. We describe a case series of people living with HIV (PLWH) receiving nivolumab in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) and report responses and toxicities. We identified all PLWH who received nivolumab at any VA facility since 2000 in the Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW), which provides nationwide research access to VA electronic medical records. We identified 16 HIV-infected nivolumab recipients. The median number of nivolumab doses received was 6 (range, 1–32). Changes in CD4 count during therapy were variable, with 70% (7/10) of patients experiencing increases. Half of PLWH were treated for non–small-cell lung cancer; 2 for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), 2 for renal cell carcinoma, and 4 for off-label cancers. For non–small-cell lung cancer, 7 patients had evaluable responses. Although 5 of 7 patients immediately progressed, 1 had a partial response and 1 had stable disease, which were both durable. Two of 16 (14%) PLWH had complete responses; both with HL (2/2 HL, 100%). The prevalence of immune-related adverse effects was 40% overall (6/15); 27% (4/15) had pneumonitis. To our knowledge, this is the largest case series reporting outcomes with nivolumab in PLWH. Outcomes were comparable with those seen in studies of HIV-uninfected patients, and particularly interesting for HL. The reason for the high proportions of immune-related adverse effects is unclear, but needs to be confirmed in larger studies.

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