Dr. Gross on Neoadjuvant Cemiplimab in Head and Neck CSCC

Neil D. Gross, MD, FACS

Neil D. Gross, MD, FACS, professor of head and neck surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses a phase II study of neoadjuvant cemiplimab (Libtayo) prior to surgery in patients with stage III/IV cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) of the head and neck.

To be included in the trial, patients needed to have advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma with a plan for surgery and radiation, explains Gross. The 20 patients included in the trial received a baseline biopsy and then received 2 doses of therapy before receiving standard-of-care treatment with surgery and planned postoperative radiation.

Results of the trial showed a discrepancy between imaging and pathology results. About one-third of patients showed an imaging response to treatment, according to Gross. With pathologic response, however, more than 11 of the patients had a pathologic complete response and had no cancer at the time of surgery, says Gross. An additional 3 patients showed a major pathologic response, suggesting they could have achieved a complete response with further treatment, Gross concludes.
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