Immune checkpoint therapies (ICTs) can induce life-threatening immune-related adverse events, including myocarditis and myositis, which are rare but often concurrent. The molecular pathways and immune subsets underlying these toxicities remain poorly understood. To address this need, we obtained heart and skeletal muscle biopsies for single-cell RNA sequencing in living patients with cancers treated with ICTs admitted to the hospital with myocarditis and/or myositis (overlapping myocarditis plus myositis, n=10; myocarditis-only, n=1) compared to ICT-exposed patients ruled out for toxicity utilized as controls (n=9) within 96 hours of clinical presentation. Analyses of 58,523 cells revealed CD8+ T cells with a cytotoxic phenotype expressing activation/exhaustion markers in both myocarditis and myositis. Furthermore, the analyses identified a population of myeloid cells expressing tissue-resident signatures and FcγRIIIa (CD16a), which is known to bind IgG and regulate complement activation. Immunohistochemistry of affected cardiac and skeletal muscle tissues revealed protein expression of pan-IgG and complement product C4d that were associated with the presence of high-titer serum autoantibodies against muscle antigens in a subset of patients. We further identified a population of inflammatory IL-1B+TNF+ myeloid cells specifically enriched in myocarditis and associated with greater toxicity severity and poorer clinical outcomes. These results are the first to recognize these myeloid subsets in human immune-related myocarditis and myositis tissues and nominate new targets for investigation into rational treatments to overcome these high-mortality toxicities.

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