Chemotherapy in Patients with Hereditary Angioedema

Cristina Morelli, Vincenzo Formica, Stefania Pellicori, Antonello Menghi, Maria Domenica Guarino, Roberto Perricone, Mario Roselli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is an autosomal dominant hereditary disorder characterized by episodic swelling of many body regions (especially throat and abdomen), potentially triggered by medication. No data are available for HAE in patients with cancer assigned to standard chemotherapy. The aim of our study was to identify circulating mediators potentially predictive of acute HAE attacks during chemotherapy.

PATIENT AND METHODS: Repeated blood testing (approximately every week) for complement system members (C3, C4, CH50, C1 inhibitor, C1-inhibitor functional C1Q), D-dimers and for routine haematochemistry were performed in a 42-year-old male affected by type 2 HAE during standard adjuvant oxaliplatin/fluorouracil-based chemotherapy administered for stage III radically resected rectal cancer. Pre-medication with 1,000 U Berinert inhibitor C1 was administered every week throughout treatment. Mann-Whitney U-test was used to determine statistical differences in measures between the first 30 days of therapy and beyond day 30 of therapy.

RESULTS: Pre-chemotherapy values of tested variables (day 0) were: C3: 101 mg/dl, C4: 5.71 mg/dl, CH50: 74%, C1 inhibitor: 43.4 mg/dl, C1-inhibitor functional: 18%, C1Q: 150 mg/dl, and D-dimers: 113 g/ml. A significant change in circulating values was observed for C3, D-dimers and C1-inhibitor functional. Four HAE attacks were observed, they started from the forth cycle of treatment and all were manageable. Changes in C3, D-dimers and C1-inhibitor functional preceded the attacks.

CONCLUSION: The stress induced by chemotherapy such a standard oxaliplatin/fluorouracil increases the risk of attacks in patients with HAE. However, circulating biomarkers such as D-dimers, C3 and C1-inhibitor functional may serve as early predictors of acute HAE crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6801-6807
Number of pages7
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Adult
  • Angioedemas, Hereditary/complications
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols/therapeutic use
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products/therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rectal Neoplasms/complications


Dive into the research topics of 'Chemotherapy in Patients with Hereditary Angioedema'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this