The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), the world’s leading member-driven organization dedicated to improving cancer patient outcomes by advancing the science and application of cancer immunotherapy, published the first clinical practice guideline (CPG) focused on immunotherapy for the treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC).

The guideline was published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC), SITC’s peer-reviewed, open-access online journal. [1]

“Treatment options for patients with advanced or metastatic nonmelanoma skin cancer were once extremely limited and offered very little hope for disease control,” said Isaac Brownell, MD, Ph.D., Co-chair of the SITC Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Immunotherapy Guideline Expert Panel.

“Immune checkpoint inhibitors are now extending the years of life of many patients and have become the standard of care for these difficult-to-treat tumors.”

Skin cancer
NMSCs include a variety of tumor types, with the most prominent being cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC), basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). The recent FDA approvals of immune checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of MCC, CSCC, and BCC have markedly improved outcomes for patients with advanced NMSCs. However, many aspects of the practical use of these agents are complex and markedly different from conventional therapies for skin cancers. Furthermore, the treatment landscape continues to evolve, with new agents and combinations as well as checkpoint inhibitor strategies for earlier stages of the disease being evaluated in clinical trials.

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“Immunotherapy is a rapidly-evolving field and many clinicians have limited experience using these agents to treat the more rare NMSCs,” said Ann Silk, MD, MS, Co-chair of the SITC Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Immunotherapy Guideline Expert Panel.

“SITC developed this CPG because clinicians need expert guidance to interpret the nuances in the available evidence for shared decision-making with their patients.”

SITC convened the Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Immunotherapy Guideline Expert Panel to systematically review the most current data and develop evidence- and consensus-based recommendations on topics including patient selection, staging, biomarker testing, immunotherapy treatment selection, post-treatment response evaluation and surveillance, and patient quality of life support, among others.

“SITC’s clinical practice guidelines are an important resource for clinicians seeking guidance on immunotherapy,” explained SITC President Patrick Hwu, MD.

“Through the open-access guideline publications and companion educational opportunities, SITC is committed to offering the oncology community the necessary information to offer the benefits of immunotherapy to their patients,” Hwu concluded.

[1] Silk AW, Barker CA, Bhatia S, Bollin KB, Chandra S, Eroglu Z, Gastman BR, Kendra KL, Kluger H, Lipson EJ, Madden K, Miller DM, Nghiem P, Pavlick AC, Puzanov I, Rabinowits G, Ruiz ES, Sondak VK, Tavss EA, Tetzlaff MT, Brownell I. Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) clinical practice guideline on immunotherapy for the treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancer. J Immunother Cancer. 2022 Jul;10(7):e004434. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2021-004434. PMID: 35902131.

Featured image: Histopathology of basal cell carcinoma of the skin. Surgical excision. Hematoxylin and eosin stain. Basal cell carcinoma histopathology. Photo courtesy: © 2016 – 2022 Fotolia/Adobe. Used with permission.

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