Contribution of the Skin–Gut Axis to Immune-Related Adverse Events with Multi-System Involvement

Alyce M. Kuo, Lukas Kraehenbuehl, Stephanie King, Donald Y.M. Leung, Elena Goleva, Andrea P. Moy, Mario E. Lacouture, Neil J. Shah, David M. Faleck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Immune-related adverse events (irAEs) frequently complicate treatment with immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) targeting CTLA-4, PD-1, and PD-L1, which are commonly used to treat solid and hematologic malignancies. The skin and gastrointestinal (GI) tract are most frequently affected by irAEs. While extensive efforts to further characterize organ-specific adverse events have contributed to the understanding and management of individual toxicities, investigations into the relationship between multi-organ toxicities have been limited. Therefore, we aimed to conduct a characterization of irAEs occurring in both the skin and gut. A retrospective analysis of two cohorts of patients treated with ICB at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was conducted, including a cohort of patients with cutaneous irAEs (ircAEs) confirmed by dermatologists (n = 152) and a cohort of patients with biopsy-proven immune-related colitis (n = 246). Among both cohorts, 15% (61/398) of patients developed both skin and GI irAEs, of which 72% (44/61) patients had ircAEs preceding GI irAEs (p = 0.00013). Our study suggests that in the subset of patients who develop both ircAEs and GI irAEs, ircAEs are likely to occur first. Further prospective studies with larger sample sizes are needed to validate our findings, to assess the overall incidence of co-incident irAEs, and to determine whether ircAEs are predictors of other irAEs. This analysis highlights the development of multi-system dermatologic and gastrointestinal irAEs and underscores the importance of oncologists, gastroenterologists, and dermatologists confronted with an ircAE to remain alert for additional irAEs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2995
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • bullous pemphigoid
  • colitis
  • cutaneous adverse events
  • diarrhea
  • immune checkpoint blockade
  • rash


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