Immunotherapies directed at T-cell activation through antibodies targeting checkpoint proteins, such as programmed cell death 1 (PD1), are rapidly becoming the new standard of care in the treatment of several malignancies. Cemiplimab is a monoclonal antibody targeting PD1 that has recently emerged as a highly active treatment for locally advanced and metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC). Patients who have received an organ transplant (OTRs) have been traditionally excluded from clinical trials with checkpoint inhibitors (CIs), given concerns for organ rejection. Renal transplant recipients (RTRs) are more likely to develop cancers than the general population, and skin cancers are among the most frequent malignancies. We report the case of a 72-year-old man with a history of a kidney transplant who presented with a rapidly growing, locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the scalp that recurred within four weeks from surgical resection. The patient was able to safely receive ten cycles of cemiplimab so far with significant clinical benefit, and no issues with his kidney function, while continuing immunosuppression with low dose prednisone alone. An ongoing clinical trial (NCT04339062) is further exploring the safety of CIs in patients with metastatic CSCC who have previously received allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant or a kidney transplant.
- Checkpoint inhibitor
- Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
- Kidney transplant
ASJC Scopus subject areas