Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors and Kidney Toxicity: Advances in Diagnosis and Management

Harish Seethapathy, Sandra M. Herrmann, Meghan E. Sise

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Immune checkpoint inhibitors are now approved for more than 50 indications, and increasing numbers of patients with advanced cancer are receiving immunotherapy. Immune-related adverse events that result from checkpoint inhibitors can affect any organ system. The most common kidney side effect is acute kidney injury, typically caused by acute interstitial nephritis. This review covers the most recent advances in immune checkpoint inhibitor-induced acute kidney injury. The review focuses on the differences between checkpoint inhibitor classes in causing acute kidney injury and differentiating immune checkpoint inhibitor-induced kidney damage from other causes of acute kidney injury. We describe the appropriate use of a kidney biopsy in the diagnosis of acute kidney injury and highlight the need for identification of noninvasive diagnostic and predictive biomarkers of immune checkpoint inhibitor-induced acute kidney injury. In the treatment section, approaches to corticosteroid use and the risks and benefits of rechallenging patients who experience acute kidney injury are debated. We also clarify the long-term adverse effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors on kidney function and the risk of chronic kidney disease in cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1074-1081
Number of pages8
JournalKidney Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Immune checkpoint inhibitor
  • acute interstitial nephritis
  • acute kidney injury
  • chronic kidney disease
  • nephrotoxicity
  • renal failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Nephrology


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