Advanced practice oncology nurses know how complex the care of patients with cancer can be. Every day seems to bring further advancements in the treatment and management of cancer. It can be difficult to keep up with the onslaught of new information, but our patients rely on us to bring them the latest, greatest, and safest treatment options available.
In the past several years, the field of immuno-oncology has exploded. Checkpoint inhibitors (PD-1, PD-L1, CTLA-4), chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, and monoclonal antibodies can add years to the lives of patients with certain malignancies. But to add quality to those years, advanced practice nurses must be able to recognize and treat immune-related adverse effects (irAEs).
Many irAEs are obvious and manifest through cardiac, pulmonary, or gastrointestinal toxicities. Others are a little more difficult to pinpoint with certainty, which can make treatment a challenge. Immunotherapy-related endocrinopathies fall in this category.