New drug approved for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma

Nowadays, it is very common to hear about skin diseases related to sun exposure. One of the carcinomas that has been increasing in the last years is the cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, or CSCC. This type of cancer accounts for about 20% of the skin cancers in the population and over the last 30 years, there has been an increase from 50 % to 200% of incidence of this disease. There is a concern that the increase in UV exposure could be a factor contributing to this type of cancer and other ones, such as melanoma. Other risk factors for this cancer are having light skin and a weakened immune system.

Fortunately, there has been some research for CSCC and the results have been favorable for one new drug that has been recently approved in the US. This last September 28th, the FDA approved Regeneron’s Libtayo® (Cemiplimab-RWLC) for the treatment of CSCC or its locally advanced form that renders patients not eligible for curative surgery or radiation. Libtayo® is a monoclonal antibody that targets the receptor PD-1 (programmed cell death) and it’s the first one of its kind approved for CSCC. In clinical trials performed in metastatic CSCC and locally advanced CSCC, there was an objective response rate of 47% and 49% respectively. In fact, for the metastatic CSCC, there was a 5% complete response rate too.

It is great news that the industry is also researching for other types of cancer that, even though they are less common, they represent an unfulfilled need for a lot of patients. This gives them hope and another chance to have a better quality of life.