If immunotherapy, implemented before surgery, works in patients with metastatic melanoma – the worst skin cancer – works, and works well, why not try it in those with minor tumors such as squamous cell skin cancer? The all-Italian multicentre study conceived by oncologist Paolo Ascierto and whose first results are presented at the congress of the American Society of Clinical Oncology underway until 6 June in Chicago, was born from this consideration.
The trial, which is called NEO-CESQ, involves 6 Italian centers: Florence Padua, Perugia, Genoa, Brescia and the Pascale of Naples as leader. Twenty-five patients were enrolled and treated with the immunotherapy drug cemiplimab before surgery and for a full year after surgery. Although it is still ongoing, the available data show a reduction of tumor cells in the tissue involved in 52% of the patients enrolled, with a percentage of severe side effects equal to zero.
Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, 19,000 new cases every year in Italy: presented the White Paper
by Irma D’Aria
Among the most common forms of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma is characterized by abnormal growth of cancer cells, generally with an onset of the disease in old age and an onset of the disease in the skin areas most exposed to UV rays.
The main objective of the study is precisely the pathological response; other objectives are the evaluation of recurrence-free survival, overall survival, the possible presence of adverse events and the identification of predictive biomarkers of response to treatment.
“We are satisfied with the results achieved – says Paolo Ascierto, director of the Department of Melanoma and Innovative Therapy at Pascale in Naples – With this study, Italy further demonstrates that it is a leader in the field of immunotherapy for the treatment of solid tumors”.