The emergence of immune checkpoint inhibitors for solid tumor treatments represents a major oncological advance. Since the approval of ipilimumab, a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) antibody, for the treatment of metastatic melanoma, many drugs, especially those targeting PD1/PD-L1, have demonstrated promising antitumor effects in many types of cancer. By reactivating the immune system (IS), these immunotherapies have led to the development of new toxicity profiles, also called immune-related adverse events (irAEs). IrAEs can involve many organ systems, and their management is radically different from that of cytotoxic drugs; irAEs require immunosuppressive treatments, such as corticoids or tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) antibody. Additionally, the occurrence of irAEs has raised significant questions. Here, we summarize progress that has been made toward answering these questions, focusing on 1) the impact of immunotherapy dose on irAE occurrence, 2) the correlation between irAE and patient outcome, 3) the safety of immune checkpoint inhibitors in patients already treated for autoimmune disease and 4) the suspected effect on tumor growth of steroids used for the management of irAEs.
- Received April 9, 2016.
- Revision received June 30, 2016.
- Accepted July 6, 2016.
- Copyright ©2016, American Association for Cancer Research.