. 2020 Jun; 86(9):1778-1789.
doi: 10.1111/bcp.14433.

Evolving insights into the mechanisms of toxicity associated with immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy

Brendan L Mangan 1 Renee K McAlister 1 Justin M Balko 2 Douglas B Johnson 3 Javid J Moslehi 3 Andrew Gibson 4 Elizabeth J Phillips 3 
  • PMID: 32543711
  •     113 References
  •     14 citations


Immune checkpoint inhibitors have emerged as a revolutionary treatment option for patients with various types of malignancy. Although these agents afford a significant improvement in outcomes for melanoma and other previously untreatable malignancies, their novel mechanism of action may predispose patients to immune-related adverse effects (irAEs). In the tumour neoantigen environment, these irAEs are due to the activation of the immune system by the blockade of suppressive checkpoints, leading to increases in T-cell activation and proliferation. IrAEs have been reported in almost any organ and at any point in time, even months to years after discontinuation of therapy. Certain populations with distinct physiological changes, genetic risk factors, and specific antigen exposures may be more highly predisposed to develop irAEs. This review discusses the incidence and mechanisms of irAEs and the relationship between host factors and irAE occurrence.

Keywords: cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4, immune checkpoint inhibitors, immune-related adverse effects, immunotherapy, programmed cell death 1, programmed cell death ligand 1.

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