Immune-related Adverse Events from Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy

Publication Date: November 1, 2021

Key Points

Key Points

  • Immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment of many different types of cancers.
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICPi) targeting cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4), programmed cell death-1 (PD-1), and PD ligand 1 (PD-L1) work by preventing the receptors and ligands from binding to each other, thereby disrupting signaling so that T-cells can recognize and attack cancer cells. They are currently the standard of care in the treatment of several cancers, including a variety of solid-organ and hematological malignancies.
  • The use of ICPis is rising exponentially, with approximately 40% of patients with cancer in the United States in 2019 eligible for treatment with ICPis.
  • Immune checkpoint blockade therapy is associated with a spectrum of side effects that is quite different from other systemic therapies such as cytotoxic chemotherapy.
    • Moderate to severe immune-related adverse events (irAEs) may be associated with life-threatening declines in organ function and quality of life, and fatal outcomes have been reported.

Key Recommendations

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Treatment

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