Survival benefit of endocrine dysfunction following immune checkpoint inhibitors for nonthyroidal cancers

Anupam Kotwal, Mabel Ryder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Our goal is to review pertinent data evaluating the association between immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI)-induced endocrine dysfunction and survival in cancer patients as well as to understand the potential molecular links between these. RECENT FINDINGS: ICIs have revolutionized cancer therapy but have also led to multiple immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Studies have demonstrated a link between the development of irAEs and improved survival, suggesting that ICI-induced antitumor immunity and autoimmunity are coupled. Thyroid irAEs are most frequently and strongly associated with improved survival, particularly in the context of overt thyroid dysfunction. Other endocrine irAEs, such as hypophysitis and diabetes are quite rare wherein the treatment approach or the disease process itself may mitigate improvement in survival. Preclinical and translational data indicate a role for CD4+ T cells, regulatory T cells and/or cytokines mediating irAEs, including thyroiditis. SUMMARY: The development of irAEs is associated with improved tumor responses and survival in cancer patients. Thyroid irAEs, alone or in combination with other irAEs, are most strongly associated with improved outcomes. Biomarkers of response to ICIs are lacking, despite well-characterized pathologic and genomic susceptibilities predicting ICI efficacy. Early detection of thyroid irAEs may identify patients most likely to have durable antitumor response to ICIs. Although irAEs and antitumor immunity appear 'coupled', translational studies indicate the potential for their 'uncoupling', which could enable antitumor efficacy with greater safety margins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-524
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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