Merkel Cell Carcinoma: Pembrolizumab as First-Line Treatment

The second most common cause of skin cancer death, Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and lethal cancer that usually metastasizes quickly. Researchers have discovered that the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda®), which has already been FDA approved as a second-line treatment for MCC, elicits a better response rate and increased progression-free survival compared with chemotherapy as a first-line treatment for this condition. In this multicenter phase II trial (Cancer Immunotherapy Tr...
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Pembrolizumab Approved for Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Previously approved for the treatment of several other cancers, including lung, cervical, gastric, liver, head and neck, bladder, and certain types of lymphoma, pembrolizumab (Keytruda®, Merck & Co., Inc.) is now approved for both adult and pediatric patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a rare skin cancer affecting about 2,000 patients per year. Merkel cell carcinoma is aggressive and challenging to treat, and patients with advanced disease have...
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Study Reveals How Merkel Cell Carcinoma Eludes Immunotherapy

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have discovered a source of tumor recurrence in patients with Merkel cell carcinoma who initially show response to immunotherapy treatments. Around 20% of patients with Merkel cell carcinoma experience relapse and subsequent resistance to T-cell therapy. The cause of this relapse remained unknown until the Immunotherapy Integrated Research Center at Fred Hutch more closely examined the molecular changes. Two patients with Merkel cell carc...
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Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma: Treatment Challenges and Best Practices With Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and aggressive neuroendocrine tumor of unknown origin that typically presents in older white and immunocompromised adults. An estimated 1,500 cases are diagnosed in the United States annually. The rapid rise of MCC incidence during the past few decades has been attributed in part to people living longer with increased sun exposure and weakened immune systems, a feature that suggests an infectious origin and warrants further research. Treatment standards are ...
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