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Best Practices for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor-related Adverse Events

By News Release


The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) recently published a clinical practice guideline focusing on management of the toxicities called immune-related adverse events (irAEs) that can affect cancer patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs).

The “Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) clinical practice guideline on immune checkpoint inhibitor-related adverse events,” published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, was developed by an expert panel of leaders in immunotherapy and diverse subspecialties to provide recommendations on best practices for managing clinically relevant irAEs that arise during treatment with ICIs, including the common gastrointestinal, and dermatologic toxicities in addition to the more rare yet potentially serious neurologic and cardiac events, among other key considerations for oncologists treating their patients with these agents.

“Checkpoint inhibitors have transformed cancer care, yet these unique therapies can cause toxicities that are quite different than what is seen with traditional anti-cancer treatments, and our understanding of irAEs is continuing to advance,” said Julie R. Brahmer, co-chair of the SITC Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor-related Adverse Events Expert Panel. “The Expert Panel considered the latest evidence available in the literature as well as their own vast wealth of experience in treating irAEs to develop this guideline, which will provide clinicians with the most current thinking on toxicity management, in order to safely use checkpoint inhibitors and provide the best-possible outcomes for patients.”

ICIs are treatments that unleash the immune system against cancer, but the same mechanisms that underpin their effective anti-tumor properties may cause unique toxicities, specifically irAEs. As ICIs increasingly become integrated into treatment plans for an ever-increasing number of disease settings, there is a need for clear, expert guidance on the recognition and management of irAEs.

“I am pleased to share in the excitement of SITC's long-awaited clinical practice guideline on immune checkpoint inhibitor-related adverse events,” said SITC President Patrick Hwu, MD. “The eleventh manuscript published in SITC's Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines series, this guideline is critically important to oncologists in the management of these unexpected adverse events, and ensures the best possible outcomes for cancer patients receiving FDA-approved immunotherapies.”

The SITC Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines are a collection of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) developed by leading experts to help hematologists and oncologists determine when and how to best use immunotherapy to treat their patients. The published disease-state specific guidelines provide evidence- and expert consensus-based recommendations on topics including selection of appropriate immunotherapy treatments, toxicity management, biomarkers, and considerations for patient quality of life.

In addition to the published manuscript, SITC is also offering a number of different opportunities to help clinicians understand and implement the guidelines into their practice, including live webinars and on-demand modules hosted on the SITC website. These live, free webinars will allow attendees to learn more about the recommendations included in this clinical practice guideline and ask questions of expert faculty, thus deepening their understanding of the concepts in the manuscript so they may feel comfortable safely administering cell therapies.