Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 375–385 | Cite as

Diagnoses and Management of Drug Hypersensitivity and Anaphylaxis in Cancer and Chronic Inflammatory Diseases: Reactions to Taxanes and Monoclonal Antibodies

  • Rafael Bonamichi-Santos
  • Mariana Castells


Due to the increase in utilization of chemotherapies and antibodies, drug hypersensitivity reactions have increased dramatically worldwide, preventing the use of first-line therapies and impacting patients’ survival and quality of life. Some of the more frequently used medications in cancer include taxanes for ovarian, lung, breast, and prostate cancers. Monoclonal antibodies are used in the treatment of neoplastic, autoimmune, and inflammatory diseases, and their clinical applications are becoming broader. Monoclonal antibody targets include CD20, HER-2, EGFR, IL-6 receptor, TNF-α, CD30, VEGF-A, IgE, and more, and examples of immune-mediated and inflammatory diseases that respond to monoclonal antibodies include rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, Wegener’s granulomatosis, microscopic polyangiitis, ankylosing spondylitis, plaque psoriasis, and asthma. Neoplastic diseases include non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and colorectal, breast, gastric, and lung cancer. The clinical presentation of drug hypersensitivity reactions ranges from mild cutaneous reactions to life-threatening symptoms including anaphylaxis. Rapid drug desensitization (RDD) has become a groundbreaking approach to the management of immediate drug hypersensitivity reactions IgE and non-IgE mediated. It is the only effective procedure that enables sensitized patients to receive the full treatment dose safely, thus representing an important advance in the patients’ treatment and prognosis. The aim of this review is to provide an update on hypersensitivity reactions to commonly used monoclonal and taxanes, their clinical presentations, diagnosis, and the use of RDD for their management.


Taxanes Monoclonal antibodies Rapid drug desensitization Drug hypersensitivity reaction Adverse drug reaction 



Adverse drug reaction


Drug hypersensitivity reactions


Hypersensitivity reactions


Immunoglobulin E


Monoclonal antibodies


Rapid drug desensitization


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy DivisionUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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