Side effects can vary according to the type of targeted antibody—and what exactly it targets—and can also be influenced by the location and type of cancer as well as a patient’s overall health. As many of the proteins targeted by antibodies are expressed by both cancer cells and healthy cells, targeted antibodies can sometimes cause off-target immune responses that result in side effects.
These side effects can range from mild to moderate and can become deadly under certain circumstances. Fortunately, in most cases side effects can be safely managed as long as they are recognized and addressed early. Therefore, it’s extremely important that patients notify their care team as soon as possible about any unusual developments during or after treatment with immunotherapy. In addition, patients should always consult their doctors and the rest of their care team to gain a better and fuller understanding of the potential risks and side effects associated with specific targeted antibodies.
The side effects most commonly associated with currently approved targeted antibodies are: anemia, constipation, cough, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fatigue / asthenia, fever, headache, hemorrhage, hypokalemia, infection, infusion-related reactions, lymphopenia, nasopharyngitis, nausea, neutropenia, pain (including in the abdomen, back and musculoskeletal system), peripheral neuropathy, pneumonia, pruritus, pyrexia, rash, thrombocytopenia, and vomiting.
For more information regarding the side effects associated with targeted antibodies and other immunotherapy approaches, please refer to our Immunotherapy Side Effects page.