Cardiothoracic complications of immune checkpoint inhibitors

Clin Imaging. 2023 Oct:102:98-108. doi: 10.1016/j.clinimag.2023.08.001. Epub 2023 Aug 9.


A paradigm shift in cancer treatment occurred with the advent of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI). ICI therapy has improved tumor response and increased overall survival in patients with solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. While ICI therapy has improved overall patient outcomes in oncology, it has also introduced novel adverse effects called immune-related adverse effects (irAEs). Studies have shown that the development of irAEs is associated with improved overall survival, but certain irAEs like pneumonitis and myocarditis are life threatening, and could result in death if not identified and treated early. Therefore, it is important for radiologists to be aware of complications arising from ICI administration, especially those related to the heart and lungs as they are associated with greater mortality. This paper will review the imaging features of cardiothoracic toxicities, recurrent and chronic irAEs, and atypical tumor responses associated with irAEs.

Keywords: Immune checkpoint inhibitors; Immunotherapy; Myocarditis; Pneumonitis; Toxicity; cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Heart
  • Hematologic Neoplasms*
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors* / adverse effects
  • Radiologists


  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors