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Rheumatic adverse events of immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer immunotherapy.

INTRODUCTION: The advent of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in cancer treatment has marked a transformative era, albeit tempered by immune-related adverse events (irAEs), including those impacting the musculoskeletal system. The lack of precise epidemiologic data on rheumatic irAEs is attributed to factors such as potential underrecognition, underreporting in clinical trials, and the tendency to overlook manifestations without immediate life-threatening implications, further complicating the determination of accurate incidence rates, while the complete understanding of the mechanisms driving rheumatic irAEs remains elusive.

AREAS COVERED: This literature review comprehensively examines rheumatic irAEs in cancer patients undergoing ICI therapy, encompassing epidemiology, risk factors, mechanisms, clinical manifestations, and current management guidance for prevalent conditions such as inflammatory arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and myositis. Less frequent rheumatic and musculoskeletal irAEs are also explored, alongside insights into ongoing clinical trials testing therapeutic and preventive strategies for irAEs. A thorough literature search on Medline and the National Cancer Institute Clinical Trials Database was conducted up to October 2023 to compile relevant information.

EXPERT OPINION: In light of the evolving landscape of cancer immunotherapy, there is a compelling need for prospective longitudinal studies to enhance understanding and inform clinical management strategies for rheumatic irAEs.

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