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Karl D. Lewis, MD


Cemiplimab-rwlc in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin: Living in the Real World

By: Lauren Harrison, MD, MS
Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2022

In a single-institution study, the anti–PD-1 antibody cemiplimab-rwlc demonstrated better efficacy and response rates in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma than in the EMPOWER-CSCC-1 trial. At the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting (Abstract e21545), Sunil Badami, MD, of the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute in Mobile, Alabama, and colleagues presented the outcomes of patients from the University of Southern Alabama study who were treated with cemiplimab after its approval in 2018.

Researchers retrospectively analyzed data from 26 patients with advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma who were treated with cemiplimab. Patients at this institution were given 350 mg of cemiplimab every 3 weeks and were treated between September 2018 and December 2021. Any patient who received at least one dose of the drug and had one clinical follow-up were included in the analysis.

A total of 23 patients met the criteria to be included in the final analysis; 19 had locally advanced disease and 7 had metastatic disease. The head and neck were the most common sites of the primary tumor in this cohort. The median time to first response was 1.7 months, requiring a median of 2.5 doses of cemiplimab. The objective clinical response rate was 78%, including 8 patients who achieved a complete response and 10 who achieved a partial response. An ongoing response was seen in six patients (27%) with continued therapy.

Adverse events noted in this group of patients included mostly grade 1 or 2 events including pruritus, hypothyroidism, infusion-related reaction, dermatitis, and rheumatoid arthritis flare. No grade 3 or 4 adverse events were observed.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first real-world outcomes study of advanced [cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma] patients treated with cemiplimab in the United States,” said the authors.

Disclosure: For a list of authors’ disclosures, visit

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