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Treatment of unresectable cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma with pembrolizumab
  1. Samantha Venkatesh,
  2. Ali Al-Haseni and
  3. Debjani Sahni
  1. Dermatology, BUSM, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Debjani Sahni, debjani.sahni{at}


Currently, there are few effective therapies for locally advanced and metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC); however, there is recent evidence supporting the use of immunological therapies in cSCC given the typically high mutation burden and association with immunosuppressed states. This report describes a 56-year-old man presenting with synchronous, invasive cSCC on the right temple and right dorsum of the hand deemed unfavourable for surgical resection. The patient was treated with nine infusions of programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitor therapy, pembrolizumab, with clinical and radiographical resolution of his lesions. This case illustrates the potential use of anti-PD-1 antibody as a first-line treatment in the setting of advanced, unresectable cSCC.

  • dermatology
  • chemotherapy
  • skin cancer

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  • Contributors SV drafted the manuscript. AA-H followed the patient’s case and helped to create and draft the manuscript. DS followed the patient’s case and provided final revisions to the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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