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Chemotherapy-Related Adverse Events Versus Immunotherapy-Related Adverse Events

Matthew Burke, MBA, RN, MSN, APRN-BC
Published Online:6:08 PM, Mon January 6, 2014
Matthew Burke, MBA, RN, MSN, APRN-BC, Oncology Nurse Practitioner/Melanoma and Renal Cell Carincoma, Yale New Haven Hospital, discusses the difference between adverse events caused by chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Clinical Pearls:
  • Chemotherapy-related adverse events are usually limited to the time that the drug is in the patient’s body
  • Immunotherapy agents cause modifications in the checkpoints of the immune system that may be permanent
  • Because the immune system is altered during treatment, the severity of immunotherapy-related adverse events can be much worse than chemotherapy-related adverse events
  • It is currently difficult to predict which patients will experience severe adverse events from immunotherapy treatment
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