Colon nontumor
Colitis (non-infections)
Ipilimumab-associated colitis

Topic Completed: 1 May 2016

Revised: 8 January 2019, last major update May 2016

Copyright: (c) 2016,, Inc.

PubMed Search: colon colitis Ipilimumab

Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.
Page views in 2018: 923
Page views in 2019 to date: 692
Cite this page: Gonzalez R. Ipilimumab-associated colitis. website. Accessed October 16th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Colitis caused by use of the anti-CTLA4 medication, ipilimumab
Essential features
  • Colitis is a somewhat common side effect of ipilimumab
  • Can be mild (diarrhea) or severe (perforation, death)
  • Histology: increased intraepithelial lymphocytes, increased apoptosis, cryptitis
  • Occurs in up to 29% of patients taking ipilimumab, an immunologic agent used for melanoma and other malignancies (Melanoma Res 2015;25:321)
  • Causes dysregulation of gastrointestinal mucosal immunity
Clinical features
  • Diarrhea, colitis
Radiology description
Prognostic factors
Case reports
Clinical images
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Ipilimumab associated colitis
on colonoscopy

Gross images
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Cecal perforation due to severe colitis

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Lymphoplasmacytic expansion of lamina propria; increased apoptosis and intraepithelial lymphocytes; cryptitis and crypt elongation (Am J Surg Pathol 2008;32:1130)
  • Severe cases may show ulceration/perforation, pseudopolyp formation and crypt dilation, without lymphocytosis or apoptosis (J Clin Gastroenterol 2013;47:781)
Microscopic (histologic) images
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Contributed by Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.

Positive stains
  • Immunohistochemistry (CD3, CD4, CD8) shows increase in T cell subsets
Differential diagnosis
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