Groundbreaking Immunotherapy Drug Beats Skin Cancer

A ‘groundbreaking’ immunotherapy drug is helping patients overcome advanced non-melanoma skin cancer.

Cemiplimab is being used at Sir Charles Gaidner Hospital in Perth as part of an international trial. Oncologist Annette Lim, who runs the trial, says most patients have responded with encouraging results.

There were strict criteria for patients to enter the trial, but early results suggest the drug could be a game-changer for non-melanoma skin cancer sufferers.

Dr Lim says the results have been “miraculous” and that some patients respond to cemiplimab very quickly. Patients with large lesions in multiple places have seen their tumours shrink in consecutive scans.

The drug has improved prognoses for some patients with squamous cell carcinoma whose tumours did not respond to surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Cancer Council Western Australia says many people disregard non-melanoma skin cancers as trivial and easily treated, and that new developments in immunotherapy are vital for providing terminally ill skin cancer patients with treatment options they may not otherwise have.

Read more latest news in immunotherapy here.



O’Leary, C. (November 6, 2017.) ‘Miracle’ drug cemiplimab helps WA grandfather Kim Doherty fight back from ‘terminal’ skin cancer. The West Australian.

Learn more about skin cancer medicine in primary care at the next Skin Cancer Certificate Courses:

Skin Cancer Certificate Courses in Australia

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