Cemiplimab for Kidney Transplant Recipients With Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

MeSH Headings

Humans; Skin Neoplasms (drug therapy, pathology); Carcinoma, Squamous Cell (drug therapy, pathology); Kidney Transplantation (adverse effects); MTOR Inhibitors; Adrenal Cortex Hormones (therapeutic use); Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized


PURPOSE: Cemiplimab is approved for treating locally advanced or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC). Solid organ transplant recipients have been excluded from immunotherapy trials, given concern for allograft rejection despite their increased risk of skin cancers. Chronic immunosuppression is necessary to prevent organ rejection but may attenuate antitumor response with PD-1 inhibitors. METHODS: We report a phase I study of cemiplimab for kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) with advanced CSCC. After cross-taper to a mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor and pulsed dose corticosteroids (prednisone 40 mg once daily, the day before and on days 1-3 of each cycle, followed by 20 mg once daily on days 4-6, then 10 mg once daily until the day before each subsequent cycle), patients received cemiplimab 350 mg intravenously once every 3 weeks for up to 2 years and were assessed for response every 8 weeks. The primary end point was the rate of kidney rejection, with key secondary end points including rate and duration of response, and survival. RESULTS: Twelve patients were treated. No kidney rejection or loss was observed. A response to cemiplimab was observed in five of 11 evaluable patients (46%; 90% CI, 22 to 73), including two with durable responses beyond a year. Median follow-up was 6.8 months (range, 0.7-29.8). Treatment-related grade 3 or greater adverse events occurred in five patients (42%), including diarrhea, infection, and metabolic disturbances. One patient died of angioedema and anaphylaxis attributed to mTOR inhibitor cross-taper. CONCLUSION: mTOR inhibitor and corticosteroids represent a favorable immunosuppressive regimen for KTRs with advanced CSCC receiving immunotherapy. This combination resulted in durable antitumor responses with no kidney rejection events (funded by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals [ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT04339062]).

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