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WCCS/EADO 2016 | What are the current treatment options for Merkel cell carcinoma

Jürgen Becker, MD, PhD from the University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany discusses the symposium on Merkel cell carcinoma treatment at the 2016 World Congress on Cancers of the Skin (WCCS) and the Congress of the European Association of Dermato-Oncology (EADO) in Vienna, Austria. Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer, for which the standard treatment is chemotherapy following metastasis, however, positive treatment responses tend to be short-lived. The symposium also covered current immunotherapy options for Merkel cell carcinoma, which include PDL-1 and PD-1 blockade. Dr Becker goes on to recall recent clinical trial results that show up to 50% of Merkel cell carcinoma patients responding to PDL-1 axis blocking treatment and these patients also have long-lived responses and disease-ree or non-progressive periods. Dr Becker comments though that more and larger trials need to be conducted to confirm and support these early results.

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