Management of Cutaneous Immune-Related Adverse Events in Patients With Cancer Treated With Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: A Systematic Review

JAMA Oncol. 2022 Jan 1;8(1):130-138. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.4318.


Importance: There exists a paucity of literature that summarizes the effective management of cutaneous immune-related adverse events (cirAEs) in patients with cancer who are receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). Most published articles are small case series from a single institution. To our knowledge, the spectrum of possible treatments has not been systematically reviewed to highlight the breadth of options when caring for patients with cirAEs.

Objective: To further characterize the development of subtypes of cirAEs in patients with cancer treated with ICIs and provide recommendations on optimal treatment regimens based on the current literature.

Evidence review: A search was performed in PubMed, Embase European, Web of Science, and Google Scholar on June 26, 2020, according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) reporting guidelines, limited to the years 2010 to 2020. Articles that met predetermined inclusion criteria (published between January 1, 2010, and June 1, 2020; written in the English language; and original articles, brief reports, case reports, and research letters that reported primarily on cirAE management) were selected, and data were abstracted. Articles that met the scope of the review were also added from reference lists. When possible, the results of studies that addressed a similar question were combined quantitatively.

Findings: In total, 138 studies (87 from the aforementioned literature search and 51 additional studies pulled from the reference lists of included articles) were included that reported on 879 cirAEs. The subtypes of cirAEs included maculopapular, pruritus, lichenoid, immunobullous, psoriasiform, granulomatous, erythema multiforme or Stevens Johnson Syndrome, drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms, connective tissue disease, hair, oral, and miscellaneous. Treatments for cirAEs included a combination of topical corticosteroids, systemic corticosteroids, steroid-sparing agents, and discontinuation or cessation of immunotherapy.

Conclusions and relevance: This systematic review found that treatment with ICIs was associated with many types of skin toxic effects, each with unique treatment options beyond current published guidelines. Further research into key differences between subtypes is critical to improve the care provided to patients with cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Immunotherapy / adverse effects
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Skin
  • Skin Diseases* / etiology


  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors