Immune-related toxicities, otherwise known as immune-related adverse events (irAEs), occur in a substantial fraction of cancer patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). Ranging from asymptomatic to life-threatening, ICI-induced irAEs can result in hospital admission, high-dose corticosteroid treatment, ICI discontinuation, and in some cases, death. A deeper understanding of the factors underpinning severe irAE development will be essential for improved irAE prediction and prevention, toward maximizing the benefits and safety profiles of ICIs. In recent work, we applied mass cytometry, single-cell RNA sequencing, single-cell V(D)J sequencing, bulk RNA sequencing, and bulk T-cell receptor (TCR) sequencing to identify pretreatment determinants of severe irAE development in patients with advanced melanoma. Across 71 patients separated into three cohorts, we found that two baseline features in circulation—elevated activated CD4 effector memory T-cell abundance and TCR diversity—are associated with severe irAE development, independent of the affected organ system within 3 months of ICI treatment initiation. Here, we provide an extended perspective on this work, synthesize and discuss related literature, and summarize practical considerations for clinical translation. Collectively, these findings lay a foundation for data-driven and mechanistic insights into irAE development, with the potential to reduce ICI morbidity and mortality in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-109
Number of pages14
JournalImmunological Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • immune-related adverse events
  • immunotherapy
  • irAEs
  • melanoma
  • predictive biomarkers


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