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Is this the end of cytotoxic chemotherapy in Merkel cell carcinoma?

Authors Rabinowits G

Received 17 June 2017

Accepted for publication 31 August 2017

Published 28 September 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 4803—4807

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S126640

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Samir Farghaly

Guilherme Rabinowits

Department of Medical Oncology, Center for Head and Neck Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA

Abstract: Although cytotoxic chemotherapy has been used often in the management of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), its benefit remains uncertain. Despite being considered a chemosensitive disease, the duration of response is generally short, and the survival benefit is unclear. With the recent FDA approval of the anti-programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) antibody avelumab for patients with advanced MCC and the limited and controversial data on chemotherapy, it is important to put in perspective whether conventional chemotherapy should remain an option for these patients. Here, we review the evidence and controversies around chemotherapy in MCC as well as two recent studies on immunotherapy that changed the treatment paradigm for this disease.

Keywords: Merkel cell carcinoma, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, review, future

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