IASLC: Immunotherapy Adverse Events Guideline Launched

10/23/17

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) has launched a guideline for nurses and clinicians who are treating lung cancer with immunotherapy and encounter adverse events.

Launch of the guidelines was announced at the 18th World Conference on Lung Cancer (October 15-18, 2017; Yokohama, Japan).

Adverse events that occur as a result of immunotherapy are different from those resulting from chemotherapy or targeted therapy. Immune-related adverse events can include gastrointestinal, dermatologic, endocrine, ocular, hepatic, neurologic, and pulmonary toxicities. Patients with lung cancer are particularly at a higher risk for pneumonitis after immunotherapy.

At the previous World Conference on Lung Cancer (December 4-7, 2016; Vienna, Austria), a need for educational support for clinicians treating lung cancer was identified. The Nurse and Allied Health Committee of the IASLC produced the new guidelines to address this need, which include tables that outline the various toxicities resulting from immunotherapy that can affect a particular body system. Each toxicity was reviewed by a multidisciplinary team of international lung cancer specialists.

Toxicities in the tables are graded and color coded, based on the varying degree of action needed. Less severe toxicities are coded green, signifying that immunotherapy treatment should continue. The amber code indicates that clinicians should proceed with treatment, but with caution. The red code indicates severe toxicities, which can be life-threatening and should be stopped immediately.

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"As immunotherapy treatment continues to be utilized more frequently, the guidelines will be essential to helping nurses understand and mitigate the potential side effects," commented Anne Fraser, oncology nurse practitioner, co-author of the guidelines and chair of the IASLC Nurse and Allied Health Committee (October 16, 2017).

The guidelines are available in hard copy and were disseminated at the World Conference on Lung Cancer for feedback. Conference attendees will be reviewing the guidelines and providing feedback to the IASLC, with the hopes of launching a final version before the end of the year. The final version will be made available for downloading and printing, and will be translated into multiple languages.—Zachary Bessette