Diabetes mellitus secondary to treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors

V. Venetsanaki, A. Boutis, A. Chrisoulidou, P. Papakotoulas


Cancer immunotherapy has been one of the highlights in the advancement of cancer care. Certain immune checkpoint inhibitors bind to PD-1 on T cells and mediate an antitumour immune response. Given that immune checkpoint inhibitors are becoming part of standard care, a new class of adverse events—immune-related adverse events—has emerged.  Among them is endocrine toxicity, most commonly targeting the thyroid, pituitary, or adrenal glands. New-onset diabetes mellitus has been reported in fewer than 1% of patients. We present a patient with type 1 diabetes mellitus secondary to immunotherapy, together with an overview of the associated literature. Patients who develop type 1 diabetes mellitus experience a rapid course, and diabetic ketoacidosis is commonly the presenting symptom. Insulin is currently the treatment of choice; oral antidiabetics or corticosteroids do not assist in management. Several predictive factors are under investigation, but physician awareness and prompt management are key to a positive outcome.


Immune checkpoint inhibitors; diabetes mellitus; immunotherapy; immune-related adverse events; iraes; nivolumab

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.26.4151

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)