Recent advances in immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICPI) development have led to major improvements in oncology patient outcomes. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) are two essential immune checkpoint receptors. Ipilimumab and tremelimumab (anti-CTLA-4-blocking antibodies) and pembrolizumab and nivolumab (antibodies targeting PD-1 receptors) have already been approved by US Food and Drug Administration in several malignancies. Two different forms of ICPI-induced renal damage have been identified, including acute (granulomatous) tubulointerstitial nephritis and immune complex glomerulonephritis. The observed acute renal damage can be reversed upon ICPI drug discontinuation and renal function can recover back to normal following the introduction of systemic corticosteroid treatment. Any delay in treating this complication could result in definitive and irreversible renal injury.
Keywords: checkpoint blockade; immunotherapy; ipilimumab; nivolumab; pembrolizumab.
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