Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionized the treatment of several advanced malignancies leading to durable remission in a subset of patients. Their rapidly expanding use has led to an increased frequency of immune-related adverse events (irAEs). The pathogenesis of irAEs is poorly understood but may involve aberrant activation of T cells leading to inflammatory cytokine release or production of pathogenic antibodies leading to organ damage. Severe irAEs can be extremely debilitating and, in some cases, life threatening. IrAEs may not always be corticosteroid responsive or may require excessively high, often toxic, corticosteroid doses. Therapeutic plasma exchange (PLEX) is a treatment modality that has shown promising results for the management of certain severe irAEs, including irAEs that are not mentioned in current treatment guidelines. PLEX may attenuate ongoing irAEs and prevent delayed irAEs by accelerating clearance of the ICI, or by acutely removing pathogenic antibodies, cytokines, and chemokines. Here, we summarize examples from the literature in which PLEX was successfully used for the treatment of irAEs. We posit that timing may be a critical factor and that earlier utilization of PLEX for life-threatening irAEs may result in more favorable outcomes. In individuals at high risk for irAEs, the availability of PLEX as a potential therapeutic mitigation strategy may encourage life-saving ICI use or rechallenge. Future research will be critical to better define which indications are most amenable to PLEX, particularly to establish the optimal place in the sequence of irAE therapies and to assess the ramifications of ICI removal on cancer outcomes.
View details for DOI 10.1093/immadv/ltac012
View details for PubMedID 35814850
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9257781