Immune-Related Adverse Events of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Immune-related adverse events (irAEs) are toxicities that arise after administration of monoclonal antibodies targeting immune checkpoints (immune checkpoint inhibitors [ICIs]) in patients with cancer. They can occur at any time after initiation of ICI treatment, with a broad clinical phenotype that can be organ-specific or systemic. Although most irAEs manifest as mild to moderate signs and symptoms, severe forms of irAEs can lead to irreversible organ failure and have acute life-threatening presentations. Treatment should be tailored to the specific organ involved and the severity. Glucocorticoids are the first-line treatment for most irAEs, with immunosuppressants and biologics mainly used as second-line treatments.

Use this article to:

  • If able, consult a pharmacist or oncologist to provide an overview of ICIs and their current uses in cancer therapy.
  • Review common adverse effects and the recommended management.
  • Review the contraindications to prescription of ICIs.
  • Take the quiz that accompanies the article to assess your knowledge, and then review the correct answers.

In the Clinic is a feature of Annals of Internal Medicine which includes practical reviews about the management of common clinical conditions.

Back to the March 2024 issue of ACP IMpact