Dr. Nghiem on Immunotherapy in Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD
Published: Wednesday, Jul 25, 2018



Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD, Michael Piepkorn Endowed Chair in Dermatology Research, professor of Dermatology/Medicine at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington Medicine, discusses immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). He presented 2-year efficacy and safety data from the JAVELIN Merkel 200 trial at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting.

MCC is considered by many to be a chemotherapy-sensitive disease. Although over 50% of patients will initially respond to chemotherapy, less than 5% will benefit beyond 1 year, Nghiem says. Part A of the single-arm trial focused on the patient population with the biggest need—those who are chemotherapy-refractory.

Patients were treated with the PD-1 inhibitor avelumab (Bavencio). Progression-free survival was 26% after 2 years, and the objective response rate of 33% remained unchanged after a follow-up of 1 year and 18 months. Nghiem says the biggest difference between immunotherapy and chemotherapy is that 70% to 80% of patients stay in response with immunotherapy, according to these data.


Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD, Michael Piepkorn Endowed Chair in Dermatology Research, professor of Dermatology/Medicine at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington Medicine, discusses immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). He presented 2-year efficacy and safety data from the JAVELIN Merkel 200 trial at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting.

MCC is considered by many to be a chemotherapy-sensitive disease. Although over 50% of patients will initially respond to chemotherapy, less than 5% will benefit beyond 1 year, Nghiem says. Part A of the single-arm trial focused on the patient population with the biggest need—those who are chemotherapy-refractory.

Patients were treated with the PD-1 inhibitor avelumab (Bavencio). Progression-free survival was 26% after 2 years, and the objective response rate of 33% remained unchanged after a follow-up of 1 year and 18 months. Nghiem says the biggest difference between immunotherapy and chemotherapy is that 70% to 80% of patients stay in response with immunotherapy, according to these data.

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Online CME Activities
TitleExpiration DateCME Credits
Community Practice Connections™: New Directions in Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Emerging Evidence of ImmunotherapyAug 13, 20191.5
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