What are the side effects of immunotherapy?

Like other forms of cancer treatment, immunotherapies can cause a number of side effects. These side effects can vary widely from patient to patient.

Biologic response modifiers may cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, nausea, and loss of appetite. Rashes or swelling may develop at the site where the modifiers are injected. Blood pressure also may be affected, usually with a decrease in pressure. Fatigue is another common side effect of biologic response modifiers.

Side effects of colony-stimulating factors may include bone pain, fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite.

Vaccines can cause muscle aches and low-grade fever. The side effects of monoclonal antibodies vary, and serious allergic reactions may occur.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/01/2014.


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