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Risk of cumulative toxicity after complete melanoma response with pembrolizumab

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Published:1st Feb 2017
Author: Hsieh AH, Faithfull S, Brown MP.
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Ref.:BMJ Case Rep. 2017;2017. pii: bcr2016218308.

Pembrolizumab is an approved first-line systemic therapy for unresectable metastatic melanoma. Despite the achievement of complete and durable responses in a small subgroup of patients, it is standard practice that pembrolizumab therapy continues beyond complete response. Nevertheless, the incidence of immune-related toxicities gradually increases with continuing pembrolizumab therapy. We report a case highlighting the occurrence of serious induced immune-related adverse events, which were attributed to pembrolizumab in a patient with metastatic melanoma who obtained a complete response (CR) after receiving pembrolizumab for a total of 6.5 months. Although mild pembrolizumab-related toxicity persists, the patient remains disease-free 5.5 months after discontinuation of pembrolizumab. Accordingly, we believe that cessation of pembrolizumab should be considered in patients who achieve a CR because of the ongoing risk of toxicity with extended pembrolizumab administration.


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