Cemiplimab an investigational human antibody targeting PD-1 (programmed cell death protein 1), is yet another “checkpoint inhibitor” that was evaluated in 82 patients with advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC). Early trial results suggest that cemiplimab may represent a viable treatment option for individuals diagnosed with CSCC.
About Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma (CSCC)
CSCC is the second most common type of skin cancer in the United States. Although CSCC has a good prognosis when caught early, it can prove especially difficult to treat when it progresses to advanced stages. CSCC is the second deadliest skin cancer after melanoma and is responsible for the most deaths among non-melanoma skin cancer patients. For patients with CSCC that cannot be cured by surgery or radiation, there are currently no FDA-approved treatment options, and advanced CSCC is responsible for 3,900 to 8,800 deaths per year in the U.S.
The EMPOWER-CSCC 1 clinical study was initiated in 2016 and remains active. EMPOWER-CSCC 1 was designed to evaluate different dose levels of the novel PD-1 inhibitor cemiplimab in patients with advanced CSCC. Cemiplimab demonstrated an overall response rate of 46.3%, with 32 of 38 responses ongoing at the time of analyses suggesting a high level of anti-cancer activity.
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