Factors affecting high-grade hepatotoxicity of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in cancer patients: a multi-center observational study

Ji Min Han, Hye Won Han, Jeong Yee, Min Kyoung Kim, Jin Young Moon, Soyeon Cho, Dasom Jung, Yoon Sook Cho, Inyoung Seo, Jae Youn Kim, Hye Sun Gwak

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6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although several studies have examined tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-induced hepatotoxicity, the majority of patients in those studies displayed low-grade (grade I–II) hepatotoxicity. The purpose of this study was to investigate factors affecting high-grade (grade III–IV) hepatotoxicity of TKIs. Methods: This multi-center, retrospective study used individual patient data from five studies that examined factors affecting hepatotoxicity by TKIs (crizotinib, erlotinib, gefitinib, imatinib, and lapatinib). Odds ratio (OR) and adjusted OR (AOR) were estimated from univariate and multivariate analyses, respectively. Results: Data from 1279 patients treated with TKIs were analyzed. The rate of patients who experienced high-grade hepatotoxicity after TKI administration was 5.5%. In multivariable analysis, H2 blockers and CYP3A4 inducers increased high-grade hepatotoxicity 2.2- (95% CI 1.255–3.944) and 3.3-fold (95% CI 1.260–8.698), respectively. Patients with liver metastasis revealed a 3.4-fold (95% CI 1.561–7.466) higher risk of high-grade hepatotoxicity. Among underlying malignancies, pancreatic cancer and other cancers including acute lymphoblastic leukemia increased the risk of high-grade hepatotoxicity by 2.6- and 24.3-fold, respectively, whereas breast cancer decreased the risk (AOR 0.3, 95% CI 0.106–0.852), compared to non-small cell lung cancer. In patients who administrated TKIs which form reactive metabolites, use of CYP3A4 inducers and liver metastasis increased incidence of high-grade hepatotoxicity by 3.0- and 2.3-fold, respectively. In patients with EGFR mutation, exon 19 deletion and use of proton pump inhibitors were risk factors for high-grade hepatotoxicity in addition to liver metastasis and use of H2 blockers. Conclusion: The use of H2 blockers, presence of liver metastasis, and CYP3A4 inducers were associated with high-grade hepatotoxicity of TKIs. In subgroup analyses, presence of exon 19 deletion, and/or proton pump inhibitors, was additional risk factors for high-grade hepatotoxicity in special patients and use of specific TKIs. Close liver function monitoring is recommended, especially in patients with liver metastasis or using H2 blockers or CYP3A4 inducers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1191
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • CYP3A4 inducers
  • Exon 19 deletion
  • H2 blockers
  • High-grade hepatotoxicity
  • Liver metastasis
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors


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