Managing Pneumonitis Following Immune Checkpoint Inhibition in Kidney Cancer

February 6, 2020
Raja E.

Raja E. Abdulnour, MD, discusses modern management strategies for pneumonitis induced by treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors in patients with kidney cancer.

Raja E. Abdulnour, MD, a pulmonologist in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, discusses modern management strategies for pneumonitis caused by treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors, in patients with kidney cancer.

Immune checkpoint inhibitor-induced pneumonitis is defined as the development of sudden or chronic respiratory toxicity along with inflammation in the lung, in patients who do not have other reasons for these toxicities, other than their treatment. An infection, disease progression, and heart failure are examples of other issues that may cause toxicities. Once immune checkpoint inhibitor-induced pneumonitis has been confirmed, is it safe to begin managing the pneumonitis.

Treatment for pneumonitis depends on the severity. For patients who require oxygen, the typical treatment is steroids, which help with inflammation. If the steroids work, then patients are given multi-week cycles of prednisone, a corticosteroid.