Explaining Adverse Events of Immune Therapy to Patients with Breast Cancer

At the 3rd annual School of Nursing Oncology (SONO) meeting, we got the chance to sit down with Madelaine Kuiper RN, MSN, and talk about what adverse events come with immune therapy for patients with breast cancer.

At the 3rd annual School of Nursing Oncology (SONO) meeting, Madelaine Kuiper RN, MSN, from the UCLA Santa Monica Hematology/Oncology Breast Program, discussed why immune therapy isn't for every patient with breast cancer, and how to explain this to patients.


I have patients who come to me and say, "Oh why can't I use immune therapy?" [For some], it has a very restricted or limited effect or benefit, but particularly in triple-negative [breast cancer] we are seeing some benefit, but it has its own side effects. It can cause immune-mediated auto-immune diseases such as pneumonitis, it can cause some problems with hepatitis, all of these sorts of things. It takes a long time to see benefits from it for some patients, plus the uniqueness of being able to get testing done on someone's sample for PD-L1. It's not something we were routinely testing, so [we must learn] how to manage that.

The look of using alpelisib now as a PI3 kinase inhibitor for hormone-receptive positive breast cancers and the benefits that now is providing. Now, it's not upfront upline as the CDK 4/6 [inhibitors], but maybe it's considered second- or third-line now and it opens up another opportunity for patients to receive care and improving, again, their progression-free survival.

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