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Immune checkpoint inhibitors: current status
  1. Ana Filipa Palma dos Reis1,2,
  2. Ivo Hennig3 and
  3. Andrew Wilcock4
  1. 1Serviço de Oncologia, Hospital Santo António dos Capuchos, Lisboa, Portugal
  2. 2Anatomia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa Faculdade de Ciências Médicas de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
  3. 3Clinical Oncology, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  4. 4Palliative Medicine, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ana Filipa Palma dos Reis, Serviço de Oncologia, Hospital Santo António dos Capuchos, Lisboa, Portugal; palmareis{at}


The use of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) is growing rapidly in oncology and palliative care clinicians and other generalists will increasingly see patients who are receiving, or who have received ICI. For optimal care, it is important that clinicians have a basic understanding of the unique nature of ICI as anticancer treatments, including patterns of response, potential issues with concurrent corticosteroid use and the wide range of possible immune-related adverse effects (IrAEs). This paper, informed by a recent literature search, provides a succinct yet comprehensive overview of ICI, with a particular focus on IrAE, highlighting that some are potentially life-threatening and/or can develop a long time, sometimes years, after even a short course of an ICI.

  • drug administration
  • pharmacology
  • supportive care
  • survivorship
  • symptoms and symptom management
  • cancer

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  • Contributors Clinical training and clinical practice obtained in the Oncology Department of Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central was a very valuable input for the writing of the present article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.