Frontiers in Immunology
Centre for Precision Health / School of Medical and Health Sciences
Cancer Council Western Australia / ECU Vice chancellor research fellowship / Western Australia Cancer and Palliative Care Network (WACPCN) fellowship
The use of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) has evolved rapidly with unprecedented treatment benefits being obtained for cancer patients, including improved patient survival. However, over half of the patients experience immune related adverse events (irAEs) or toxicities, which can be fatal, affect the quality of life of patients and potentially cause treatment interruption or cessation. Complications from these toxicities can also cause long term irreversible organ damage and other chronic health conditions. Toxicities can occur in various organ systems, with common observations in the skin, rheumatologic, gastrointestinal, hepatic, endocrine system and the lungs. These are not only challenging to manage but also difficult to detect during the early stages of treatment. Currently, no biomarker exists to predict which patients are likely to develop toxicities from ICI therapy and efforts to identify robust biomarkers are ongoing. B cells and antibodies against autologous antigens (autoantibodies) have shown promise and are emerging as markers to predict the development of irAEs in cancer patients. In this review, we discuss the interplay between ICIs and toxicities in cancer patients, insights into the underlying mechanisms of irAEs, and the involvement of the humoral immune response, particularly by B cells and autoantibodies in irAE development. We also provide an appraisal of the progress, key empirical results and advances in B cell and autoantibody research as biomarkers for predicting irAEs. We conclude the review by outlining the challenges and steps required for their potential clinical application in the future.
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