What is immune-related hepatitis?

The immunotherapy you have been receiving activates your immune system to identify and target cancer cells. This can cause your immune system to attack normal tissues within your body, causing living tissue to become inflamed. It has been noted in your recent blood results that the liver function test is abnormal.

Therefore, you have been diagnosed with immune-related hepatitis.

Hepatitis is a term used to describe inflammation of the liver.

This can only be seen in the liver transaminase ALT and AST via a blood test. These levels in the blood will indicate the grade of your hepatitis to the immunotherapy team and treatment will be based on these levels.

Symptoms of immune-related hepatitis

Common symptoms of immune-related hepatitis include:

  • Deranged blood results (AST and ALT)
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • A high temperature
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Feeling unusually tired all the time
  • A general sense of feeling unwell
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Itchy skin

Treatment of immune-related hepatitis

As this is immune-related we need to reduce the inflammation in the liver. Steroids (oral / intravenous) are used in the first line. These are very effective in treating inflammation.

You will be referred for an MRI or ultrasound scan of your liver and will require regular blood monitoring whilst on steroids.

Your immunotherapy treatment will be placed on hold and your consultant informed of your toxicity.

Once symptoms are resolved or stable, your oncology team will discuss recommencing immunotherapy treatment when (or if) it is safe to do so.

Urgent alert

If you experience any side effects, or notice any general changes in your health, please contact The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Hotline (24 Hours, 7 Days a week):
0800 169 5555