Cancer immunotherapy is a type of biological treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer.
Immunotherapy toxicities are different from those encountered with standard chemotherapy or targeted therapies. The immune system may become dysregulated during immunotherapy, leading to symptoms and findings which mimic autoimmune disorders. Adverse events can occur during or following treatment and can be life threatening. Any organ system in the body is at risk.
Management of toxicities needs prompt coordination with a medical oncologist with initiation of high dose corticosteroids, and may require referral to the appropriate subspecialty. If you suspect your patient is presenting with immune-related toxicity, please contact the patient’s medical oncologist directly or if after hours contact the on-call physician, or as per your local BC Cancer centre’s process outline in the patient letter below.