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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 212-226

Adverse Events of Oncologic Immunotherapy and Their Management

Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (A Phase I Program), University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

Correspondence Address:
Fedricker Diane Barber
Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/apjon.apjon_6_19

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Over the past two decades, immunotherapy has emerged as a promising treatment option for patients with cancer. However, newer versions of immunotherapy, such as checkpoint inhibitors, may be associated with unusual adverse effects (AEs) that can range in severity from mild to life-threatening. Unlike common AEs of conventional chemotherapy, which have a predictable nadir or cyclic pattern after administration, AEs of these newer immunotherapies are variable, depending on the type of immunotherapy, route of administration, and mechanism of action. The onset and resolution of these AEs may be present at any time, during administration of treatment, a few weeks after administration of treatment, or several months after completion of treatment. Therefore, improving outcomes in patients undergoing oncologic immunotherapy requires oncology nurses' knowledge and understanding of various immunotherapy agents, as well as early recognition and management of potential AEs, especially AEs associated with checkpoint inhibitors and other therapies that manipulate T-cell activation causing autoimmune toxicity. This article draws upon current evidence from systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and expert consensus guidelines to provide a brief overview of common immunotherapies used in cancer and management of their associated AEs.

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