The following article features coverage from the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2020 meeting. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.

A poster presented as part of the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program detailed the establishment of a national biorepository to advance the study of immune-related adverse events (irAEs), which are rare side effects from treatment with immunotherapies.

“Although most patients tolerate the new therapies well, a few experience irAEs ranging in severity up to life-threatening,” according to David E. Kozono, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and colleagues.

The goal of the biorepository will be translational studies that can improve understanding of the molecular pathogenesis and treatment of these toxicities.

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A multi-institutional study of irAEs will be open to patients who have received 1 or more therapies targeting CTLA-4, PD-1, or PD-L1 and experienced:

  • One or more serious adverse events that are likely immune related
  • Rare infection, or
  • Tumor hyperprogression.

Patients must be registered within 72 hours of the confirmation of an irAE. The specific immunotherapies of interest are CTLA-4 inhibitors (ipilimumab, tremelimumab), PD-1 inhibitors (cemiplimab, nivolumab, pembrolizumab), and PD-L1 inhibitors (atezolizumab, avelumab, durvalumab).

For inclusion in the repository, biospecimens will be collected at 1 to 2 time points: within 1 to 7 days after treatment initiation and 1 month after. These may include tumor blocks, biopsies of inflammatory tissues used to establish irAE diagnosis, and serial blood samples for isolation of plasma, serum, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

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Additionally, stool samples are collected from patients experiencing colitis, and imaging data will be collected for patients with hyperprogression or pneumonitis.

The researchers hope to accrue 240 patients.

“Because of the relatively low incidence and wide variety of irAEs due to various immunotherapies for multiple tumor types, establishment of an efficient centralized repository for acquisition and organized distribution of well-annotated biospecimens is vital for translation studies that improve understanding of the molecular pathogenesis and treatment of these significant toxicities,” the researchers wrote in the poster.

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s coverage of the ASCO 2021 meeting by visiting the conference page.


Kozono DE, Sharon E, Le-Rademacher J, et al. Alliance A151804: Establishment of a national biorepository to advance studies of immune-related adverse events. Presented at: ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program. J Clin Oncol. 2020;38(suppl):abstr TPS3154.