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Research Letter
December 12, 2018

Clinical Characterization of Immunotherapy-Related Pruritus Among Patients Seen in 2 Oncodermatology Clinics

Author Affiliations
  • 1Dermatology Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
  • 2Dermatology Service, Hospital Vithas Santa Catalina, Gran Canaria, Spain
  • 3Department of Dermatology, Drug Hypersensitivity Clinical and Research Center, Immune-Oncology Center of Excellence, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Keelung, Linkou, and Taipei, Taiwan
  • 4College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
  • 5Section of Dermatology, Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
  • 6Thoracic Oncology Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
JAMA Dermatol. Published online December 12, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.4560

Immunotherapies are landmark disease-modifying agents in cancer but have the potential to cause adverse events that can lead to treatment interruptions, decreased quality of life (QOL), or morbidity.1 Immunotherapy agents include monoclonal antibodies that target downregulators or checkpoints of the immune response, including cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4 (CTLA-4), programmed cell death 1 (PD1), and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), activating the immune system against tumor cells. Pruritus occurs in 14% to 47% of patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors and can range in severity from mild and localized to debilitating and widespread in 1% to 3% of patients.2 Pruritus in various dermatologic conditions is associated with lower QOL,3 but to our knowledge the repercussions of immunotherapy-related pruritus among patients with cancer have not been reported.

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