Immune checkpoint inhibitors: possibility of adverse rheumatoid events

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  • The incidence of rheumatic immune-related adverse events (IRAEs) resulting from treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) remains unclear, but significant.

Why this matters

  • Physicians should be aware of the potential for rheumatoid side effects of ICI treatment.

Study design

  • Prevalence, clinical characteristics, and treatment data were extracted and summarized from studies that reported musculoskeletal and rheumatic IRAEs with ICI treatment.
  • Funding: Not indicated.

Key results

  • 52 studies with original data on ICI treatment and information about musculoskeletal or rheumatic IRAEs were selected, including 33 clinical trials, 3 observational studies, and 16 series or case reports.
  • Among clinical trials, arthralgia was reported in 24 trials and incidence ranged from 1% to 43%, myalgia was reported in 12 and ranged from 2% to 21%, arthritis reported in 5 and ranged from 1% to 7%, and a case of giant cell vasculitis reported in 1 trial and unspecified vasculitis in another trial.
  • Among observational and case studies, there were reports of vasculitis, myositis, inflammatory arthritis, and lupus nephritis.


  • Inconsistent classification and limited data on IRAEs.