Dr. Atlas on the Rationale for Cemiplimab in Locally Advanced CSCC

Jennifer L. Atlas, MD, discusses the rationale for using cemiplimab-rwlc as a first intervention for patients with locally advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.

Jennifer L. Atlas, MD, a medical oncologist specializing in lung cancer at Levine Cancer Institute, Carolinas HealthCare System/Atrium Health, discusses the rationale for using cemiplimab-rwlc (Libtayo) as a first intervention for patients with locally advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC).

In September 2018, cemiplimab was approved by the FDA for patients with metastatic CSCC or those with locally advanced CSCC who are ineligible for curative surgery or curative radiation, says Atlas.

The regulatory decision was based on favorable response rates with the agent in this patient population, adds Atlas. In a single-institution retrospective study, investigators examined cemiplimab as a first intervention in patients with locally advanced disease, multifocal disease, or nodal involvement. The goal was to see whether there was a way to give these patients systemic therapy to alter the course of their treatment. 

For those who had unresectable or marginally resectable disease, investigators wanted to learn whether it was possible to downgrade the surgery or radiation that they would ultimately receive if they did not achieve a complete response, adds Atlas. However, some of the patients went on to achieve a complete pathologic response with cemiplimab alone, concludes Atlas.

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