News Release

International panel led by RCSI Professor classifies immunotherapy side effects for the first time

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Professor Jarushka Naidoo

image: Professor Jarushka Naidoo, Professor of Medical Oncology, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. view more 


Tuesday, 4 April 2023: An international panel of oncology and immunotherapy experts led by RCSI’s Professor Jarushka Naidoo, has developed standardised definitions of the side effects of cancer immunotherapy to assist clinicians in treating patients. 

Immunotherapies have revolutionised the treatment of solid tumour cancers, improving outcomes for patients globally. However, the anti-tumour mechanisms of these therapies are known to cause side effects called immune-related adverse events (irAEs).  

The paper, published in the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer is the first set of consensus expert definitions relating to the diagnosis and management of side effects caused by immunotherapy, specifically immune checkpoint inhibitors. They provide a shared vocabulary for clinicians which will help standardise the application of clinical practice guidelines and support clinicians in offering the best treatment to patients. 

Commenting on the publication, first author Professor Jarushka Naidoo, Academic Professor of Medical Oncology in the RCSI Department of Medicine, said: “This set of guidelines will prove an important resource in cancer immunotherapy clinical trials as well as enabling more research into the biomarkers that help us predict adverse effects in patients.” 

Professor Naidoo and co-author Dr Catherine Murphy, Oncology Specialist Registrar, Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre assembled an expert panel with the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) to develop the definitions, addressing the unmet need for uniform terminology for different types of immune-related adverse events. These had previously been inconsistently documented in literature and vary widely from short term inflammation to damage to organs. Over twenty oncology and immunotherapy specialists from academic medicine, industry, patient advocacy and regulatory agencies were involved.  

Immunotherapy helps the body to find and destroy cancer cells. It can treat many different types of cancer and can be used alone or in parallel with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. 



For further information:  

Laura Anderson, Communications Officer, RCSI 

087 199 0399/  

About RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences 

RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences is a world-leading university for Good Health and Well-being. Ranked in the world top 50 for its contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022, it is exclusively focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide. 

RCSI is an international not-for-profit university, headquartered in Dublin. It is among the top 250 universities worldwide in the World University Rankings (2023). RCSI has been awarded Athena Swan Bronze accreditation for positive gender practice in higher education. 

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