Previously incurable skin cancers have responded to the new anti-PD1 therapy drug in almost fifty per cent of patients on a Peter Mac clinical trial.
Results of the Cemiplimab drug trial, led by Professor Danny Rischin, have shown 29 out of 59 patients with advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma had their cancers significantly reduced.
Professor Rischin announced the results at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago overnight.
Cemiplimab was shown to deliver rapid tumour reduction and durable responses in patients who responded to the drug.
There are currently no approved therapies anywhere in the world to treat this advanced form of the disease.
Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common skin cancer behind basal cell carcinoma, is cured in 95 per cent of cases with surgery.
But a small percentage of these tumors reach an advanced stage that is not curable, either because of the development of secondary malignant growths at a distance from a primary cancer site (metastatic)or locally advanced progression is no longer suitable for surgery or radiation therapy.
Advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is a term that encompasses both of these incurable situations and patients are considered for palliative care in routine clinical practice.