Review Article| Volume 51, ISSUE 8, P1074-1078, August 2019

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Hepatotoxicity of immune check point inhibitors: Approach and management


      Therapeutic reversal of immune tolerance following immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICPI) administration, has proven effective in prolonging survival of patients with a variety of solid and liquid tumors, often however at the expenses of discrete toxicities known as immune-related adverse events (AEs). Such reactions result from activation of the immune system and often present with generalized symptoms including fatigue or fever and, in some patients, may cause organ-specific damage. Skin, gut, endocrine, lung and musculoskeletal are the most frequent targets of ICPI toxicity whereas, cardiovascular, hematologic, renal, neurologic and ophthalmologic AEs occur much less frequently. While the majority of AEs are mild to moderate, serious, occasionally life-threatening reactions have been reported, including severe colitis, pneumonitis, encephalitis, toxic epidermal necrolysis, myocarditis, and diabetic ketoacidosis, with a death toll of 2%. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is becoming an attractive area for immunotherapy. Owing to the fact that the association of HCC with cirrhosis may jeopardize tolerability of ICPI therapy, attention has been paid to identifying, preventing, and treating the AEs associated with ICPI, with a focus on liver safety. Though in most studies AEs resolved with interruption of treatment and short course of steroids, identification of predictive biomarkers of response might help sparing patients from potentially life-threatening toxicity in the absence of clinical benefit.


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      Linked Article

      • Immunotherapy for hepatocellular carcinoma: A review of potential new drugs based on ongoing clinical studies as of 2019
        Digestive and Liver DiseaseVol. 51Issue 8
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          In the latest years, antineoplastic immunotherapy revolutionised the therapeutic landscape in oncology. First shown to be effective in melanoma and non-small cell lung carcinoma, immune checkpoint inhibitors are now being tested for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Preliminary results have been particularly promising. As a consequence, an increasing number of clinical trials are underway. The role of the immune system in carcinogenesis (with particular reference to tumour escape immune mechanisms), as well as the current immunotherapy trials for HCC in its different clinical scenarios, are the subject of this review.
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