Dr. Gross on Neoadjuvant Cemiplimab in Head and Neck CSCC

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Neil D. Gross, MD, FACS, discusses a phase II study of neoadjuvant cemiplimab in patients with stage III/IV cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

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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