Introduction: Immune checkpoint pathways are key immune regulatory pathways that play a physiologic role in maintaining immune-homeostasis and are often co-opted by cancer cells to evade the host immune system. Recent developments in cancer immunotherapy, mainly drugs blocking the immune checkpoint pathways, have revolutionized the treatment paradigm for many solid tumors. A wide spectrum of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) have been described with the use of these agents which necessitate treatment with immunosuppression, lead to disruption of therapy and can on occasion be life-threatening. There are currently no clinically validated biomarkers to predict the risk of irAEs. Areas covered: In this review, the authors describe the current progress in identifying biomarkers for irAEs and potential future directions. Literature search was conducted using PubMed-MEDLINE, Embase and Scopus. In addition, abstracts from major conference proceedings were reviewed for relevant content. Expert commentary: The discovery of biomarkers for irAEs is currently in its infancy, however there are a lot of promising candidate biomarkers that are currently being investigated. Biomarkers that can identify patients at a higher risk of developing irAEs or lead to early detection of autoimmune toxicities are crucial to optimize patient selection for immune-oncology agents and to minimize toxicity with their use.
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