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Pembrolizumab and other immune checkpoint inhibitors in locally advanced or metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma: safety and efficacy

Abstract : Introduction Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) is a rare aggressive skin cancer, mostly affecting elderly patients. Until recently, patients with advanced disease were treated with cytotoxic chemotherapies despite rapid chemoresistance and high toxicity. As with other cancers, immune checkpoint inhibitors (CPI), including pembrolizumab, allow durable responses with a manageable safety profile in these patients. Areas covered This review describes the rationale for using PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors in MCC, as well as efficacy and safety results from the three open-label trials investigating pembrolizumab or other PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors in patients with advanced MCC. Real-life experience and predictive pre-treatment biomarkers are discussed to assess which patients are likely to be candidates for such strategies. Ongoing fields of research include the use of CPI in the adjuvant or neoadjuvant setting and combined strategies in refractory patients. Expert Opinion: CPI have become the standard of care for frontline treatment in patients with advanced MCC. Earlier introduction of CPI in the disease course, including neo-adjuvant and adjuvant settings, is likely to improve the outcomes further. Given the rarity of this cancer, we still need to harmonize efforts in order to conduct large-scale trials and efficiently identify best optimal care.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03147008
Contributor : Nathalie Katy Chanteloup <>
Submitted on : Friday, February 19, 2021 - 2:51:17 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 2:22:32 PM

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Antoine Marchand, Thibault Kervarrec, Shailender Bahatia, Mahtab Samimi. Pembrolizumab and other immune checkpoint inhibitors in locally advanced or metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma: safety and efficacy. Expert Review of Anticancer Therapy, Expert Reviews (formerly Future Drugs), 2020, 20 (12), pp.1093-1106. ⟨10.1080/14737140.2021.1835477⟩. ⟨hal-03147008⟩

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