“Autoimmunity is the Achilles heel of onco-immunotherapy” per Dr. Leonard Calabrese, which leaves a dilemma for rheumatologists.
Onco-immunotherapy induces immune dysregulation to allow patients to develop an immune response to their cancer cells. An unfortunate side effect for patients taking onco-immunotherapy is often autoimmune-like diseases referred to as immune adverse reactions (irAEs). Studies in France and the United States have shown that irAEs can be a good prognostic sign, suggesting these therapies are working. Rheumatology is faced with new problems as onco-immunotherapies may induce new chronic diseases in multiple different forms secondary to the treatment.