Immunotherapy has emerged as a powerful therapeutic approach in many areas of clinical oncology and hematology. The approval of ipilimumab, a monoclonal antibody targeting the immune cell receptor CTLA-4, has marked the beginning of the era of immune checkpoint inhibitors. In the meantime, numerous antibodies targeting the PD-1 pathway have expanded the class of clinically approved immune checkpoint inhibitors. Furthermore, novel antibodies directed against other immune checkpoints are currently in clinical evaluation. More recently, bispecific antibodies, which link T cells directly to tumor cells as well as adoptive T cell transfer with immune cells engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor, have been approved in certain indications. Neurological complications associated with the use of these novel immunotherapeutic concepts have been recognized more and more frequently. Immune checkpoint inhibitors may cause various neurological deficits mainly by alterations of the peripheral nervous system’s integrity. These include radiculopathies, neuropathies, myopathies as well as myasthenic syndromes. Side effects involving the central nervous system are less frequent but may result in severe clinical symptoms and syndromes. The administration of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell is subject to rigorous patient selection and their use is frequently associated with neurological complications including encephalopathy and seizures, which require immediate action and appropriate therapeutic measures. Close clinical monitoring for neurological symptoms is key for early recognition of immunotherapy-related side effects. Comprehensive diagnostic work-up and adequate therapeutic measures are essential to avoid further clinical deterioration and residual neurological deficits.
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