PD-1 Inhibitor Shows Near 50% Response in Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

In a study presented at ASCO, Cemiplimab shows substantial activity and durable responses with an acceptable safety profile in treatment of metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.

The PD-1 inhibitor cemiplimab induced an overall response rate (ORR) of 47.5% in patients with metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC), according to results from a phase II study presented at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.1,2

At a median follow-up of 7.9 months, 28 of 59 patients had a response, including 4 (6.8%) partial responses and 24 (40.7%) complete responses. Among the responders, 57% had responses >6 months, and 82% had an ongoing response and continued to receive the PD-1 inhibitor. Responses were observed irrespective of prior systemic therapy.

“In the largest prospective study reported in patients with metastatic CSCC, cemiplimab…showed substantial activity and durable responses with an acceptable safety profile,” Danny Rischin, director, division of Cancer Medicine, head, department of medical oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia, and coauthors, wrote in their ASCO poster.

“Cemiplimab showed an acceptable risk/benefit profile in this metastatic CSCC population, which tends to be elderly and associated with medical comorbidities,” added Rischin, et al.

The phase II trial included patients with either metastatic or locally advanced CSCC. The data presented at ASCO were only for the cohort of 59 patients with metastatic disease. These patients received cemiplimab intravenously at 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks. The median age of the 59 patients was 71 (range, 38-93), with 43 (73%) patients aged ≥65 years.

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