Managing side effects of cancer immunotherapy for the acute physician.

Link to article at PubMed

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Managing side effects of cancer immunotherapy for the acute physician.

Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2018 Jul 02;79(7):372-377

Authors: Pickwell-Smith BA, So AC, Board RE

Immunotherapy is a novel type of anti-cancer treatment that works by upregulating the host's immune system to fight against cancer cells. Landmark immunotherapy trials have demonstrated improvements in response rates and survival compared to cytotoxic chemotherapy. Specific immunotherapies known as checkpoint inhibitors are now routinely used in a range of cancers including melanoma, lung, renal and urological cancers. Immunotherapies are associated with immune-related adverse events which are very different to those seen with traditional cytotoxic chemotherapies. This can present a new challenge to oncologists, acute physicians and the wider team of health-care professionals who look after patients receiving immunotherapy. Generally, these side effects are easily managed but some, if untreated, can be subtle and potentially life-threatening. Patients on immunotherapy may present to a wide variety of medical professionals including the emergency department, primary care and general medical admissions units. It is therefore vital that there is increased awareness and education to identify and manage side effects of immunotherapy effectively.

PMID: 29995540 [PubMed - in process]

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