Published online Mar 24, 2021. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v12.i3.150
Peer-review started: November 3, 2020
First decision: January 11, 2021
Revised: January 21, 2021
Accepted: February 19, 2021
Article in press: February 19, 2021
Published online: March 24, 2021
Immunotherapy is rapidly evolving secondary to the advent of newer immunotherapeutic agents and increasing approval of the current agents by the United States Food and Drug Administration to treat a wide spectrum of cancers. Immunotherapeutic agents have gained immense popularity due to their tumor-specific action. Immunotherapy is slowly transforming into a separate therapeutic entity, and the fifth pillar of management for cancers alongside surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. However, like any therapeutic entity it has its own adverse effects. With the increasing use of immuno-therapeutic agents, it is vital for physicians to acquaint themselves with these adverse effects. The aim of this review is to investigate the common systemic adverse effects and toxicities associated with the use of different classes of immunotherapeutic agents. We provide an overview of potential adverse effects and toxicities associated with different classes of immunotherapeutic agents organized by organ systems, as well as an extensive discussion of the current recommendations for treatment and clinical trial data. As we continue to see increasing usage of these agents in clinical practice, it is vital for physicians to familiarize themselves with these effects.
Core Tip: While immunotherapy is widely becoming a popular therapeutic treatment modality for a broad range of malignancies, it also has been known to cause a number of adverse effects. These effects have been found to be prevalent in a large number of organ systems. Clinicians should be aware of the various adverse effects associated with these novel therapeutic agents, as well as recommendations for management of these side effects in order to facilitate improved outcomes for patients undergoing these therapies.