Here’s Why Oncology Nurses Are Pivotal in Managing Immune-Related Adverse Events
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICPIs) mobilize the body’s own immune system to target cancer cells. However, the resulting immune-related adverse events (irAEs) vary in severity and may persist for months or years following treatment.
Oncology Nurses Navigate the Changing Landscape of Immuno-Oncology
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICPIs) enhance treatment response while minimizing toxicities for patients with cancer. However, education is key to managing the therapies’ unique adverse events (AEs). During a session for the ONS 46th Annual Congress™, Marianne Davies, DNP, ACNP, FAAN, of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center, Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven Hospital, and the Yale University School of Nursing, and Laura S. Wood, RN, MSN, OCN®, of Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center, provided oncology nurses with a foundation for evaluating and grading AEs in immuno-oncology.
ONS Members See Beyond Barriers and Understand Benefits of Guidelines
I am a clinician in my heart and soul. I was an ONS charter member and one of the first nurse practitioners (NPs) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY, before any NP laws were in place and before colony-stimulating factors. The inability to prevent death secondary to chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (CIN) and febrile neutropenia (FN) haunted me and led me to conduct several funded studies.
Nursing Management of Adverse Events From Enfortumab Vedotin Therapy for Urothelial Cancer
Once patients stop responding to platinum-based chemotherapy for locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer, their treatment options had been somewhat limited: PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors were effective in only 13%–29% of patients and taxanes in only 11%–13%. When the antibody drug conjugate enfortumab vedotin was approved in late 2019, it offered new hope for patients and providers, with clinical trials reporting a 44% objective response rate.
Zydus Pharmaceuticals Inc. Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Acyclovir Sodium Injection
On March 25, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shared Zydus Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s notice of its voluntary recall of four lots of acyclovir sodium injection 50 mg/ml, supplied in 10 ml and 20 ml vials, after receiving reports of crystallization in the product.
The Case of the Cord Blood Match
Zhang is a 67-year-old man who had no history of medical concerns until he was hospitalized for pneumonia. A complete blood count taken during his workup for pneumonia showed pancytopenia, and a biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia. After multiple rounds of induction therapy, Zhang's bone marrow biopsy showed minimal residual disease and he entered remission. His oncologist recommends an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant as soon as possible because of the disease's aggressive nature, but he has no match in the registry.
Management Strategies for Cutaneous Toxicity From EGFR Inhibitors
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted therapy is effective for several solid tumor malignancies, primarily non-small cell lung cancer with EGFR mutation and metastatic colorectal cancer. Although the agents spare patients from typical side effects seen with more conventional cytotoxic chemotherapies, such as nausea or vomiting, they do have a unique side-effect profile, including potentially dose-limiting cutaneous toxicity.
Manage Adverse Events From PI3K Inhibitors for Breast Cancer
In 2019, PI3K inhibitors became a new treatment option for postmenopausal women and men with HR-positive, HER2-negative, PIK3CA-mutated, advanced or metastatic breast cancer with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of alpelisib in combination with fulvestrant. Although alpelisib remains the only PI3K inhibitor approved today, others are in clinical trials, and the new class of agents has a unique safety profile.
The Case of the Targeted Therapy Toxicities
Three years ago, Tony, a 42-year-old man, began FOLFOX chemotherapy treatment for stage III colon cancer and achieved a complete response. Two years later, a biopsy of an intraabdominal lesion uncovered metastatic disease, and he was prescribed the epidermal growth factor inhibitor (EGFRi) cetuximab. Alex, the oncology nurse educating Tony on the side effects of EGFRi therapy, understands that skin toxicities are common with the class of drugs and looks for national guidelines for prevention and management direction.
What the Evidence Says for Guided Imagery in Oncologic Care
Imagery is a mind-body practice with deep historical roots. It uses imagination to recreate mental images, sounds, smells and even tastes to help achieve relaxation and to promote healing. Guided imagery can be learned in an interactive manner from a licensed practitioner or from books and self-help tapes. Repeating the practice results in a conditioning effect that can empower the individual to use it whenever needed.
Manage Cancer Treatment-Related Radiodermatitis With ONS Guidelines™
Painful skin reactions may develop in as many as 95% of patients receiving radiotherapy treatments for cancer. Patients report that it affects their quality of life and that purchasing interventions to soothe their skin increases their out-of-pocket costs. Supporting patients who experience the side effect is critical for their well-being.
Sunstar Americas, Inc., Expands Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Paroex® Chlorhexidine Gluconate Oral Rinse USP, 0.12%, for Microbial Contamination
On December 28, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that Sunstar Americas, Inc., expanded its October 27, 2020, voluntary recall of Paroex® chlorhexidine gluconate oral Rinse USP, 0.12%, because of possible contaminated with the bacteria Burkholderia lata.
What the Evidence Says for Cannabis in Cancer Care
An annual flowering herb native to East Asia, Cannabis sativa is cultivated around the world. It is used in traditional medicine as an analgesic, hypnotic, hallucinogenic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory. Preparations derived from its flowers, leaves, and hashish made from its resinous extract are taken orally, by smoking, or by vaporizing. Cannabis teas, tinctures, ointments, and oil-based extracts that can be mixed into food products are also popular.
Nurses Are Critical to Recognizing Adverse Events From Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
Although immune checkpoint inhibitors can be highly effective cancer treatments, potentially even curative in several disease states, they can cause immune-related adverse events in any tissue or organ system, presenters said in a session at the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference.
Develop a Standard Approach to Recognize Lab Abnormalities and Adverse Events With Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
By harnessing the power of a patient’s own immune system, immune checkpoint inhibitors improve antitumor immunity by blocking negative regulators (checkpoints) of T-cell function that exist on both immune and tumor cells. They essentially stop the immune system from turning off before cancer is completely eliminated.
Oncology Symptom Science Research Needs to Focus on New Therapies
Immunotherapy, emerging therapies, precision health, and biosignatures are the next frontier for oncology symptom science research, specifically patient-reported outcomes and immune-related adverse events, researchers reported during a presentation on September 8, 2020, at the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference.
FDA Designates Majority of BD’s June 30 Alaris Pump Recall as Class I
On September 1, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designated three of the situations involved in BD’s June 30, 2020, previously announced voluntary recall of several models of its Alaris™ system as class I recalls. Class I recall designation indicates a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.
Manage Immune-Related Adverse Events in Patients on Durvalumab
Durvalumab immunotherapy became a new standard of care for patients with stage III unresectable non-small cell lung cancer whose disease did not progress following two cycles of platinum-based chemoradiotherapy after its approval in February 2018, and in March 2020, its indication was expanded for use as first-line treatment in patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer as well. Key to keeping patients on immunotherapy treatment and giving them the best chance at long-term survival is effective management of immune-related adverse events.
The Case of the Thyroid Tradeoff
Tesla is a 24-year-old woman diagnosed with stage IIIA Hodgkin lymphoma. She enrolled in a clinical trial where she received a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy with pembrolizumab, an anti-PD-1 antibody. The clinical trial protocol required three doses every three weeks. At baseline, her thyroid function tests were normal. When she presented for her third dose, her labs showed grade 2 hyperthyroidism.
Immune-Related Adverse Events With PD-1 Inhibitors in Head and Neck Cancer
Clinical trial results show that PD-1 inhibitors offer improved survival and a better safety profile compared to standard, single-agent chemotherapy for recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. However, because of their mechanism of action as immunotherapy, patients receiving the agents may experience immune-related adverse events (irAEs).
Evidence-Based Program Reduced C. Difficile Incidence in Patients With Cancer
Clostridium difficile infection is a dangerous and sometimes deadly adverse event in immunocompromised patients with cancer. Although transmission risk is high in the hospital setting, even with isolation precautions, oncology providers can use a variety of prevention techniques to reduce the chance for infection in their patients.
irAEs Linked to Improved Benefit From Pembrolizumab
Patients with advanced melanoma who received adjuvant therapy with pembrolizumab and subsequently developed immune-related adverse events (irAEs) saw a 63% reduced risk of recurrence, compared to 44% for those who did not develop irAEs. The study findings were presented at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.
FDA Warns of Rare Lung Inflammation With Certain CDK 4/6 Inhibitors
Palbociclib (Ibrance), ribociclib (Kisqali), and abemaciclib (Verzenio) used to treat some patients with advanced breast cancers may cause rare but severe inflammation of the lungs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on September 13, 2019. It approved new warnings about the risk on the prescribing information and package insert for the entire class of cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK 4/6) inhibitor medicines. However, “the overall benefit of CDK 4/6 inhibitors is still greater than the risks when used as prescribed,” the agency noted.
Immunotherapy Experts Identify Key Oncology Nursing Priorities at ONS Summit
Care coordination, appropriate adverse event assessment and treatment, and rapid, continuous learning are essential priorities for oncology nurses to care for patients receiving immunotherapy, according to the experts who participated in ONS’s immunotherapy summit in March 2018.
Manage Immunotherapy-Related Diarrhea and Colitis
Although immunotherapy has a unique set of toxicities compared to traditional chemotherapy, in general, grade 3 or 4 toxicities are rare—with the exception of grade 3 diarrhea and colitis. The mechanisms by which immune-related diarrhea and colitis occur are not clear. However, T-cell activation leads to high levels of CD4 T-helper cell cytokines and cytolytic CD8 T-cell tissue infiltration. Some research suggests that depleting regulatory T cells also induces autoimmunity.
The Case of the Terrible Toxicities
After completing neoadjuvant chemotherapy for triple-negative invasive breast cancer, Madeline, age 32, had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. Final pathology showed residual disease in the breast and one lymph node, and her oncologist recommended adjuvant therapy with capecitabine (1,500 mg twice a day for 14 days, off for 7 days). Five weeks postoperatively, she started cycle 1. Eight days later, her husband called the cancer clinic reporting that over the past two days, his wife developed profound weakness, unremitting diarrhea despite using diphenoxylate and atropine as directed, and painful, red, swollen hands and feet. Her symptoms represented a drastic change from her usual routine and energy level.
How APRNs Can Manage Immunotherapy-Related Hypophysitis in Patients With Cancer
Immunotherapy may place patients at risk for distinctive toxicities that differ from traditional chemotherapy. One example is endocrine dysfunction, including hypophysitis, hypo- or hyperthyroidism, type 1 diabetes, and primary adrenal insufficiency.
Resources Are Available to Guide Management of Immunotherapy-Related Adverse Events
Immunotherapy has evolved into the “fourth pillar” of cancer care, along with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, according to Laura S. Wood RN, MSN, OCN®, of the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center in Ohio and Krista M. Rubin, MS, RN, FNP-BC, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who spoke during a session on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at the ONS 44th Annual Congress in Anaheim, CA. Immunotherapeutic agents, however, are vastly different from chemotherapies and have a distinct toxicity profile that advanced practice nurses must be familiar with.
For Oxaliplatin Hypersensitivity Reactions, Prevention Is the Best Strategy, but Here’s How to Manage Them
As the use of oxaliplatin in the treatment of gastrointestinal, gynecologic, and other cancers continues to grow, so too does the incidence of hypersensitivity reactions connected to the drug. Because the development of HSRs may require patients to discontinue oxaliplatin even if it’s effective against their cancer, oncology nurses need to be able to prevent or minimize reactions whenever possible.
How APRNs Can Manage Immunotherapy-Related Hypothyroidism in Patients With Cancer
Immunotherapy has a unique set of toxicities in comparison to traditional chemotherapy. Endocrine dysfunction, including hypo- or hyperthyroidism, hypophysitis, type-1 diabetes, and primary adrenal insufficiency, may occur. Advanced practice RNs (APRNs) have a role in monitoring and treating patients for endocrine-related toxicities.
Manage Afatinib’s Adverse Events to Keep Patients on Treatment
Ongoing therapy with afatinib—an oral, irreversible ErbB family blocker—for as long as it is effective and tolerable is considered first-line treatment for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer in patients with EGFR mutations. In their article in the October 2018 issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, Edwards, Adan, Lalla, Lacouture, O’Brien, and Sequist discussed the most common adverse events (AEs) associated with afatinib and their real-life experiences managing them in clinical practice to keep patients on therapy.
Highly Emetogenic Chemotherapy Still Contributes to Potentially Avoidable Adverse Events
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented an oncology outcome measure to assess the quality of care and determine outpatient hospital payment (OP-35: Admissions and Emergency Department Visits for Patients Receiving Outpatient Chemotherapy). The measure assesses 30-day postchemotherapy rates of inpatient or emergency department (ED) events deemed “potentially avoidable” because of an association with any of the 10 CMS-defined toxicities: anemia, dehydration, diarrhea, fever, nausea, emesis, neutropenia, pain, pneumonia, or sepsis. Researchers sought to assess those events when linked to highly emetogenic chemotherapy (HEC) in patients treated with anthracycline plus cyclophosphamide (AC), carboplatin, or cisplatin. They presented the findings at the .
Infusion Technique Reduces AEs in Patients With ALL Receiving PEG-Asparaginase
Asparaginase is part of treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and is associated with improved outcomes in those who complete this course of treatment. Despite the necessity of PEG-asparaginase, 20%–30% of patients can experience toxicities.
Using CTCAE to Report Immunotherapy Adverse Events
Although immunotherapy is changing the face of cancer care, it’s not exempt from side effects. As researchers and clinicians work to understand immune-related adverse events and how to manage them, a new challenge is emerging: reporting and grading them to get an accurate grasp on incidence rates and to standardize care to ensure better outcomes for patients. The Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) is one tool that’s helping researchers and bedside nurses do just that.
The Oncology Nurse Experience in Managing Adverse Events in Patients Receiving Ibrutinib
Ibrutinib is a first-in-class Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL). The drug’s approval was based on results from the multicenter, open-label, phase III RESONATE trial.
The Case of the CTCAE Assessment for CDK4/6 Adverse Events
Mrs. Jones is a 66-year-old postmenopausal woman who developed left breast pain and a palpable mass. A mammogram and ultrasound showed a 4.6 cm mass with an enlarged axillary node. A core biopsy revealed invasive ductal carcinoma that is estrogen receptor positive, progesterone receptor positive, and HER2 negative. Positron-emission tomography and computed tomography scans revealed metastatic disease.
Managing Immunotherapy-Related Adverse Events
Immunotherapy is becoming an important role in cancer care and having an understanding of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) is critical for oncology nurses to provide safe and effective patient care. Rowena Schwartz, PharmD, BCOP, of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, discussed strategies for managing these AEs during a session at the 43rd Annual Congress in Washington, DC.
Supporting Second Victims Will Make Your Practice Safer
Adverse events and traumatic moments send shockwaves through the entire care team. As families grieve the loss of a loved one, providers can often suffer from feelings of overwhelming guilt, remorse, or helplessness. When clinicians struggle with the aftermath of a tragic care event, they become known as second victims. Second victim experiences can lead to lapses in safety and care and could be potentially dangerous for future patients.
ONS Members Help Define Checkpoint Inhibitor Adverse Event Guidelines
Because the treatment of symptoms, side effects, and adverse events associated with immunotherapies can differ greatly from the standard of care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)—along with experts from ONS staff and membership—collaborated to develop guidelines to inform clinicians about managing immune-related adverse events associated with checkpoint inhibitor therapy.
September Is Sepsis Awareness Month
As September winds down, ONS, a partner in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) and American Nurses Association’s Nursing Infection Control Education Network, is raising awareness of Sepsis Awareness Month by highlighting resources and strategies for oncology nurses who are deeply rooted in preventing and treating sepsis in patients with cancer.
Manage Adverse Events From Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy for Melanoma
New targeted and immunotherapy drug approvals have offered improved survival and disease outcomes for patients with melanoma, but the new therapies are also associated with a range of adverse events (AEs) that differ from those associated with chemotherapy. Oncology nurses will need to shift their thinking to best manage those AEs.
Time Is Short When Addressing Hypersensitivity Reactions to Chemotherapy
Between administering antineoplastic agents, monitoring patient vitals, and preparing patients for treatment, oncology nurses are required to balance their attention between many intricate tasks. Chief among the division of duties is that oncology nurses closely monitor their patients for hypersensitivity reactions (HSRs) to prescribed agents.
Palonosetron HCL Is a Preferred Treatment for Moderately Emetogenic Chemotherapies
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is an adverse event (AE) associated with cancer therapies that healthcare providers often underestimate. CINV can interfere with treatment compliance and adherence, and patients who experienced CINV in the first cycle of chemotherapy are almost four times more likely to experience it during subsequent treatment cycles.
Critical Care for Patients With Cancer
Five to Ten Percent of patients with cancer will need to visit the intensive care unit (ICU) for a life-threatening condition. In fact, estimates suggest that nearly 30% of patients with esophageal cancer or acute leukemia and those undergoing allogenic stem cell transplantation will need ICU care.
FDA Approves Betrixaban for Extended Duration Prophylaxis of Venous Thromboembolism
On June 23, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved betrixaban (Bevyxxa, Portola) for the prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in adult patients hospitalized for an acute medical illness who are at risk for thromboembolic complications due to moderate or severe restricted mobility and other risk factors for VTE.
Nursing Considerations for Adverse Events From CAR T-Cell Therapy
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy offers options for pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but it comes with a unique set of side effects that can range from mild to severe. As the primary patient providers, oncology nurses are often the first to identify signs and symptoms of adverse events and acute changes in patients’ status. Understanding what to watch for can improve outcomes and help nurses deliver safe, effective care.
Handoff Tool Promotes Nurse-to-Nurse Communication to Avoid Patient Adverse Events
RuthAnn Gordon, MSN,FNP-BC, OCN®, from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and co-authors presented the findings during a poster session at the ONS 42nd Annual Congress in Denver, CO. The poster was titled “Utilizing Nurse to Nurse Handoff Communication to Manage Immune Related Adverse Events in an Outpatient Immunotherapy Clinic.”
Educational Initiative Increases Nurse Understanding of Infusion-Related Reactions and Interventions
Denise Portz, MSN, RN, AOCNS®, ACNS-BC, a clinical nurse specialist at the Froedtert Hospital in Wisconsin, presented the findings during a poster session at the ONS 42nd Annual Congress in Denver, CO. The poster was titled “Providing Oncology Infusion Nurses Evidence-Based Guidelines and Interventions to Manage Infusion Reactions and Anaphylaxis.”