Logo Logo

Mönch, Sebastian; Heimer, Maurice M.; Winkelmann, Michael; Guertler, Anne; Schlaak, Max; Tufman, Amanda; Ben Khaled, Najib; de Toni, Enrico; Westphalen, Christoph B.; von Bergwelt-Baildon, Michael; Dinkel, Julien; Kazmierczak, Philipp M.; Ingrisch, Michael; Mansour, Nabeel; Unterrainer, Marcus; Heinzerling, Lucie; Ricke, Jens; Kunz, Wolfgang G. (2023): Patterns of pseudoprogression across different cancer entities treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors. Cancer Imaging, 23 (1). ISSN 1470-7330

[thumbnail of s40644-023-00580-9.pdf] Published Article

The publication is available under the license Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)


Pseudoprogression (PsPD) is a rare response pattern to immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy in oncology. This study aims to reveal imaging features of PsPD, and their association to other relevant findings.

Patients with PsPD who had at least three consecutive cross-sectional imaging studies at our comprehensive cancer center were retrospectively analyzed. Treatment response was assessed according to immune Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (iRECIST). PsPD was defined as the occurrence of immune unconfirmed progressive disease (iUPD) without follow-up confirmation. Target lesions (TL), non-target lesions (NTL), new lesions (NL) were analyzed over time. Tumor markers and immune-related adverse events (irAE) were correlated.

Thirty-two patients were included (mean age: 66.7 ± 13.6 years, 21.9% female) with mean baseline STL of 69.7 mm ± 55.6 mm. PsPD was observed in twenty-six patients (81.3%) at FU1, and no cases occurred after FU4. Patients with iUPD exhibited the following: TL increase in twelve patients, (37.5%), NTL increase in seven patients (21.9%), NL appearance in six patients (18.8%), and combinations thereof in four patients (12.5%). The mean and maximum increase for first iUPD in sum of TL was 19.8 and 96.8 mm (+ 700.8%). The mean and maximum decrease in sum of TL between iUPD and consecutive follow-up was − 19.1 mm and − 114.8 mm (-60.9%) respectively. The mean and maximum sum of new TL at first iUPD timepoint were 7.6 and 82.0 mm respectively. In two patients (10.5%), tumor-specific serologic markers were elevated at first iUPD, while the rest were stable or decreased among the other PsPD cases (89.5%). In fourteen patients (43.8%), irAE were observed.

PsPD occurred most frequently at FU1 after initiation of ICI treatment. The two most prevalent reasons for PsPD were TL und NTL progression, with an increase in TL diameter commonly below + 100%. In few cases, PsPD was observed even if tumor markers were rising compared to baseline. Our findings also suggest a correlation between PsPD and irAE. These findings may guide decision-making of ICI continuation in suspected PsPD.

View Item
View Item