Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy in Patients With Autoimmune Disease

Oncology (Williston Park). 2018 Apr 15;32(4):190-4.


Immune checkpoint inhibitors have demonstrated efficacy across many cancer types in numerous clinical trials. However, because patients with preexisting autoimmune disease were excluded from these seminal trials, there are serious gaps in knowledge regarding the efficacy-and in particular the safety-of these transformative agents in patients with autoimmune disease. The safety of immune checkpoint inhibitors in this population has been an important concern, since these agents unleash immune activation, a potentially dangerous situation for patients with already heightened and aberrant immune function. Several retrospective studies have begun to address this question, finding that autoimmunity is often exacerbated by immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy, but is generally manageable with standard treatment algorithms and close multidisciplinary monitoring. Further, the activity of these agents appears to be comparable to that seen in unselected patients. Here we detail the experience with immune checkpoint inhibitors in patients with autoimmune disease.

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • B7-H1 Antigen / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Humans
  • Ipilimumab / therapeutic use*
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • Ipilimumab
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor