Acute Kidney Injury in 25% of patients on ICI therapy
In patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy, acute kidney injury (AKI) is common, and can occur either from kidney injury unrelated to ICI use or from immune activation resulting in acute interstitial nephritis (AIN). This observational cohort study, included participants initiated on ICI therapy between 2013 and 2019. Researchers tested the independent association of AKI and estimated AIN (eAIN) with mortality up to 1 year after therapy initiation as compared with those without AKI.

Of 2207 patients initiated on ICIs, 617 (28%) died at 1 year and 549 (25%) developed AKI. AKI was independently associated with higher mortality (adjusted HR, 2.28 (95% CI 1.90 to 2.72)). Those AKI patients with eAIN had more severe AKI as reflected by a higher peak serum creatinine (3.3 (IQR 2.1–6.1) vs 1.4 (1.2–1.9) mg/dL, p<0.001) but exhibited lower mortality than those without eAIN in univariable analysis (HR 0.43 (95% CI 0.21 to 0.89)) and after adjusting for demographics, comorbidities, and cancer type and severity (adjusted HR 0.44 (95% CI 0.21 to 0.93)).

In patients treated with ICI, mortality was higher in those with AKI unrelated to ICI but lower in those where the underlying etiology was AIN. Future studies could evaluate the association of biopsy-proven or biomarker-proven AIN with mortality in those receiving ICI therapy.