Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome in neuroblastoma patients receiving anti-GD2 3F8 monoclonal antibody




Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) comprises clinical and radiologic findings with rapid onset and potentially dire consequences. Patients experience hypertension, seizures, headache, visual disturbance, and/or altered mentation. Magnetic resonance imaging reveals edematous changes in the brain (especially in the parietal and occipital lobes). In this report, the authors describe PRES associated with antidisialoganglioside (anti-GD2) monoclonal antibody (MoAb) immunotherapy, which is now standard for high-risk neuroblastoma but has not previously been implicated in PRES.


Successive clinical trials using the anti-GD2 MoAb 3F8 (a murine immunoglobulin 3 MoAb specific for GD2) for patients with neuroblastoma involved multiple cycles of standard-dose 3F8 (SD-3F8) (20 mg/m2 daily for 5 days per cycle) or 2 cycles of high-dose 3F8 (HD-3F8) (80 mg/m2 daily for 5 days per cycle) followed by cycles of SD-3F8.


PRES was diagnosed in 5 of 215 patients (2.3%), including 3 of 160 (1.9%) who received SD-3F8 and 2 of 55 (3.6%) who received HD-3F8 (P = .6). All 5 patients had a rapid return to clinical-radiologic baseline. PRES occurred in 3 of 26 patients (11.5%) whose prior treatment included external-beam radiotherapy to the brain (2 of 6 patients status-post total body irradiation and 1 of 20 patients status-post craniospinal irradiation) compared with 2 of 189 patients (1.1%) who had not received prior brain irradiation (P = .01). Hypertension, which is strongly linked to PRES, reached grade 3 toxicity in 12 of 215 patients (5.6%), including the 5 patients with PRES and 7 patients without PRES.


Patients who receive anti-GD2 MoAb immunotherapy should be closely monitored for, and undergo urgent treatment or evaluation of, symptoms that may herald PRES (eg, hypertension or headaches). Prior brain irradiation may be a predisposing factor for PRES with this immunotherapy. Cancer 2013;119:2789–2795. © 2013 American Cancer Society.