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Synergistic effects of immune checkpoints and checkpoint inhibitors in inflammatory neuropathies: Implications and mechanisms.

Immune checkpoint molecules play pivotal roles in the regulation of immune homeostasis. Disruption of the immune checkpoints causes autoimmune/inflammatory as well as malignant disorders. Over the past few years, the immune checkpoint molecules with inhibitory function emerged as potential therapeutic targets in oncological conditions. The inhibition of the function of these molecules by using immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) has brought paradigmatic changes in cancer therapy due to their remarkable clinical benefits, not only in improving the quality of life but also in prolonging the survival time of cancer patients. Unfortunately, the ICIs soon turned out to be a "double-edged sword" as the use of ICIs caused multiple immune-related adverse effects (irAEs). The development of inflammatory neuropathies such as Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) as the secondary effects of immunotherapy appeared very challenging as these conditions result in significant and often permanent disability. The underlying mechanism(s) through which ICIs trigger inflammatory neuropathies are currently not known. Compelling evidence suggests autoimmune reaction and/or inflammation as the independent risk mechanism of inflammatory neuropathies. There is a lack of understanding as to whether prior exposure to the risk factors of inflammatory neuropathies, the presence of germline genetic variants in immune function-related genes, genetic variations within immune checkpoint molecules, the existence of autoantibodies, and activated/memory T cells act as determining factors for ICI-induced inflammatory neuropathies. Herein, we highlight the available pieces of evidence, discuss the mechanistic basis, and propose a few testable hypotheses on inflammatory neuropathies as irAEs of immunotherapy.

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