Medical College of Wisconsin
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Overlap of immunotherapy-related pneumonitis and COVID-19 pneumonia: diagnostic and vaccine considerations. J Immunother Cancer 2021 04;9(4)



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The clinically indistinguishable overlap between pneumonitis caused due to immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) and pneumonia associated with COVID-19 has posed considerable challenges for patients with cancer and oncologists alike. The cancer community continues to face the challenges that lay at the complex immunological intersection of immune-based cancer therapy and immune dysregulation that results from COVID-19. Is there compounded immune dysregulation that could lead to poor outcomes? Could ICIs, in fact, ameliorate SARS-CoV-2-driven T-cell exhaustion?A little more is known about the kinetics of the viral replication in immunocompromised patients now as compared with earlier during the pandemic. Working knowledge of the diagnostic and therapeutic nuances of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with active cancers, issues related to viability and replication potential of the virus, unclear role of corticosteroids among those with diminished or dysfunctional effector T-cell repertoire, and the type of immunotherapy with differential risk of pneumonitis will inform decision making related to immunotherapy choices and decision for ICI continuation in the era of COVID-19.

Author List

Abid MB


Muhammad Bilal Abid MD Assistant Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin