Biologic therapies for checkpoint inhibitor-induced cutaneous toxicities: a single-institution study of 17 consecutively treated patients

Jonathan J. Lo, Meghan M. Heberton, Omar Pacha, Auris O. Huen, Anisha B. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Treatment options for corticosteroid-refractory and/or high-grade checkpoint inhibitor (CPI)-induced cutaneous adverse events (CAEs) are limited; however, anecdotal reports of biologic therapies have been successful. We aim to characterize the appropriate treatment scenarios and safety and efficacy profiles of biologics used to treat patients with CPI-induced CAEs at a single institution. Methods: This is a retrospective case series of patients from January 1st, 2015 to October 20th, 2020, with CPI-induced CAEs who were treated with biologics at a single cancer center. Patients were identified using institutional electronic medical record who underwent CPI therapy with subsequent CAEs that necessitated biologic therapy. Diagnostic criteria utilized for CAEs were based on documentation by four board-certified dermatologists, in combination with detailed chart reviews and pathology findings. Primary study outcome measurements include CAE response, tumor response, and adverse events during biologics treatment. Results: We identified 17 patients who fit study criteria. Sixteen patients experienced some degree of CAE improvement on biologics, with 10 of 10 patients reaching CAE resolution at 6 months post biologics. Eight patients needed new systemic treatment post biologics treatment, while 9 patients received no further treatment or stayed on the CPI. Thirteen patients tolerated biologics well with no significant adverse events or blood abnormalities, with only 2 patients experiencing biologic dose delays. Conclusion: In our cohort, biologics appear to be extremely efficacious in the treatment of severe-grade and/or steroid refractory CAEs. They also appeared to be well-tolerated without overtly negative effects on tumor response. In patients with limited cancer treatment options and good tumor response to CPIs, biologics should be considered for severe-grade and/or refractory CAEs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)989-994
Number of pages6
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug reactions
  • Inflammatory skin diseases
  • Therapy and treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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