Biotechnological substances (BSs) are strongly relied upon to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, and to treat oncological, allergological, and other inflammatory diseases. Allergic reactions to partly foreign biologics can occur due to their potential immunogenicity. The severity of an immune response to a biological drug may range from no clinical significance to a severe, life-threatening anaphylactic reaction.
Detailed searches were performed on Pubmed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar to include all available publications. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency, and British Columbia Cancer Agency Drug Manual databases were screened for hypersensitivity reaction (HSR), infusion reaction, injection site reaction, urticaria, and anaphylaxis for individual BSs.
Treatment with BSs can cause various types of HSR. These are mentioned in the literature with definitions such as allergic reactions, anaphylactoid reactions, anaphylaxis, HSR, infusion reactions, injection site reactions, cytokine release syndrome, and urticaria. Due to the overlap in signs and symptoms in the reported descriptions, it is not always possible to differentiate these reactions properly according to their pathomechanism. Similarly, many data reported as anaphylaxis actually describe severe anaphylactic reactions (grades III or IV).
There is an urgent need for a simpler symptom- or system-based classification and scoring system to create an awareness for HSRs to BSs. A better understanding of the pathophysiology of HSRs and increased clinical experience in the treatment of side effects will provide timely control of unexpected reactions. As a result, immunotherapy with BSs will become safer in the future.
© The Author(s) 2020.