Elective Colectomy in a Patient with Active Ulcerative Colitis and Metastatic Melanoma Enabling Successful Treatment with Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
Checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy has significantly advanced treatment of a growing number of advanced malignancies. A consequences of immune system activation that leads to tumor cell destruction by checkpoint inhibitor therapy is the development of immune-related adverse events, some of which can be life threatening. There are limited data on the use of checkpoint inhibitor therapy in patients with preexisting autoimmunity owing to concerns that underlying autoimmune disease may be exacerbated by checkpoint inhibitor treatment. Decisions to treat these patients are made after careful consideration of the risks and benefits of treatment. We describe a patient with active and severe ulcerative colitis with metastatic melanoma who underwent elective colectomy prior to initiation of anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4. The patient had excellent tumor response without flare of his ulcerative colitis suggesting that in select patients with high-risk inflammatory bowel disease, elective colectomy may be an effective treatment option.