Dr. Julie Sharpless, Associate Professor and Director of UNC Multidisciplinary Pituitary Adenoma program, co-presented with Drs. Andrew Greganti and Frances Collichio at the Department of Medicine Grand Rounds on June 9th about the recently recognized and frequently fatal pituitary complications of immunotherapy for melanoma.
Dr. Sharpless discussed how the new CTLA-4 inhibitor and PD-1 immunotherapies, which have significantly extended survival for patients with metastatic melanoma, can cause an wide array of immune-related adverse effects, including a high prevalence of pituitary hypophysitis which is challenging to diagnose.
Interestingly, patients who experience these side effects also have a better melanoma response, so recognition and treatment of this subtle and previously rare entity is critical. UNC is a referral center for melanoma therapy, and Dr. Sharpless has now developed a significant series of patients with immunotherapy-related hypophysitis. It is hoped that developing an understanding of this new form of hypophysitis will help elucidate the pathology of other forms that we have long seen in our Multidisciplinary Pituitary program.