Pulmonary adverse events due to immune checkpoint inhibitors: A literature review



  • Vasiliki Epameinondas Georgakopoulou | vaso_georgakopoulou@hotmail.com Pulmonology Department, Laiko General Hospital, Athens, Greece. https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0772-811X
  • Nikolaos Garmpis Second Department of Propedeutic Surgery, Laiko General Hospital, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.
  • Dimitrios Mermigkis 1st Pulmonology Department Sismanogleio Hospital, Athens, Greece.
  • Christos Damaskos Second Department of Propedeutic Surgery, Laiko General Hospital, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.
  • Serafeim Chlapoutakis Department of Thoracic Surgery, Agios Savvas Hospital, Athens, Greece.
  • Konstantinos Mantzouranis 1st Pulmonology Department Sismanogleio Hospital, Athens, Greece.
  • Aikaterini Gkoufa First Department of Internal Medicine, Laiko General Hospital, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5644-8208
  • Chrysovalantis Papageorgiou Pulmonology Department, Laiko General Hospital, Athens, Greece.
  • Anna Garmpi First Department of Propedeutic Internal Medicine, Laiko General Hospital, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.
  • Sotiria Makrodimitri Pulmonology Department, Laiko General Hospital, Greece.
  • Evangelos Diamantis Unit of Endocrinology and Diabetes Center, Athens General Hospital ¨G. Gennimatas¨, Athens, Greece.
  • Pagona Sklapani Department of Cytology, Mitera Hospital, Athens, Greece.
  • Nikolaos Trakas Department of Biochemistry, Sismanogleio Hospital, Athens, Greece.
  • Xanthi Tsiafaki 1st Pulmonology Department Sismanogleio Hospital, Athens, Greece.


Cancer immunotherapy aims to stimulate the immune system to fight against tumors, utilizing the presentation of molecules on the surface of the malignant cells that can be recognized by the antibodies of the immune system. Immune checkpoint inhibitors, a type of cancer immunotherapy, are broadly used in different types of cancer, improving patients’ survival and quality of life. However, treatment with these agents causes immune-related toxicities affecting many organs. The most frequent pulmonary adverse event is pneumonitis representing a non-infective inflammation localized to the interstitium and alveoli. Other lung toxicities include airway disease, pulmonary vasculitis, sarcoid-like reactions, infections, pleural effusions, pulmonary nodules, diaphragm myositis and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. This review aims to summarize these pulmonary adverse events, underlining the significance of an optimal expeditious diagnosis and management. 




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Pneumology - Reviews
immunotherapy, cancer, drug toxicity, immune checkpoint inhibitors
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Georgakopoulou, Vasiliki Epameinondas, Nikolaos Garmpis, Dimitrios Mermigkis, Christos Damaskos, Serafeim Chlapoutakis, Konstantinos Mantzouranis, Aikaterini Gkoufa, Chrysovalantis Papageorgiou, Anna Garmpi, Sotiria Makrodimitri, Evangelos Diamantis, Pagona Sklapani, Nikolaos Trakas, and Xanthi Tsiafaki. 2021. “Pulmonary Adverse Events Due to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: A Literature Review”. Monaldi Archives for Chest Disease, October. https://doi.org/10.4081/monaldi.2021.2008.

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