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In-field and abscopal response after short-course radiation therapy in patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma progressing on PD-1 checkpoint blockade: a case series.

  • Author(s): Xu, Melody J;
  • Wu, Susan;
  • Daud, Adil I;
  • Yu, Siegrid S;
  • Yom, Sue S
  • et al.

BACKGROUND:Patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (mMCC) who experience disease progression on immunotherapy have limited additional standard options. Given evidence of synergism between radiation therapy (RT) and immunotherapy, two patients progressing on PD-1 inhibition were referred for short-course RT. CASE PRESENTATION:Two patients were found to have progressive mMCC on PD-1 inhibitor therapy and were treated with single-fraction palliative RT. Both patients were observed to have local control at irradiated regions, as well as durable abscopal response at unirradiated, out-of-field, sites of metastatic disease. CONCLUSIONS:Short-course RT is a compelling strategy that could be a means to augment response in patients with mMCC who show progression on immune checkpoint blockade. Ongoing clinical trials are investigating the relationship between RT and immunotherapy in mMCC.

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