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IntroductionImmune checkpoint inhibitor-induced inflammatory arthritis (ICI-IA) is a relatively new disease entity caused by ICI agents during cancer therapy. Reactive arthritis (ReA) is a well-known disease entity caused by urogenital or gastrointestinal bacterial infection or pneumonia. In this sense, ICI-IA and ReA are both defined by a reaction to a well-specified causal event. As a result, comparing these diseases may help to determine therapeutic strategies.MethodsWe compared ICI-IA and ReA with special focus on pharmacological management. Specifically regarding treatment, we conducted a literature search of studies published in the PubMed database. Inclusion criteria were studies on treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), glucocorticoids (GC), or disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in ICI-IA or ReA. During systematic selection, 21 studies evaluating ICI-IA and 14 studies evaluating ReA were included.ResultsIn ICI-IA, prospective and retrospective studies have shown effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), glucocorticoid (GC), sulfasalazine (SSZ), methotrexate (MTX), hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and TNFi. In ReA, retrospective studies evaluated NSAIDs and GC. A randomized controlled trial reported the effect of SSZ, and a retrospective study reported the effect of MTX and SSZ in combination with tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibition (TNFi). For both entities, small case reports show treatment effects of interleukin 6 receptor inhibition (IL-6Ri).DiscussionThis literature review identified both similarities and differences regarding the pathogenesis and clinical features of ReA and ICI-IA. Studies on treatment reported effectiveness of NSAIDs, GC, MTX, SSZ and TNFi in both diseases. Further, small case reports showed effects of IL-6Ri.

Original publication




Journal article


Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie

Publication Date





Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; Department of Neurology, Sygehus Lillebælt, Kolding, Denmark.


Humans, Arthritis, Reactive, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Methotrexate, Antirheumatic Agents, Drug Therapy, Combination, Retrospective Studies, Prospective Studies, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors