Immune checkpoint blockade for Merkel cell carcinoma: actual findings and unanswered questions

Valentina Guarnotta, Manuela Albertelli, Annamaria Colao, Lena Bottiglieri, Erika Maria Grossrubatscher, Giovanni Vitale, Giovanna Muscogiuri, Pasqualino Malandrino, Genoveffa Pizza, Manila Rubino, Andrea Isidori, Federica Grillo, Carla Di Dato, Roberta Modica, Federica De Cicco, Fabio Lo Calzo, Elia Guadagno, Barbara Altieri, Laura Rizza, Sergio Di MolfettaConcetta Sciammarella, Francesco Ferraù, Annamaria Colao, Erika Messina, Chiara Martini, Elisa Giannetta, Elena Ambrosetti, Marco Gallo, Antonio Bianchi, Giovanni Vitale, Silvia Carra, Lena Bottiglieri, Giovanni Vitale, Sergio Di Molfetta, Lena Bottiglieri, Paola Razzore, Maria Chiara Zatelli, Giuseppe Fanciulli, Antonella Di Sarno, Antongiulio Faggiano, Rosaria Maddalena Ruggeri, Diego Ferone, Severo Campione, Elisa Giannetta, Marco Gallo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE:Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, aggressive neuroendocrine carcinoma arising from the skin. We aimed to review and deal with some of the most relevant controversial topics on the correct use of immunotherapy for the treatment of MCC.METHODS:The primary search was carried out via PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library (until 31st May, 2018), while other articles and guidelines were retrieved from related papers or those referenced in these papers. Additionally, we performed an extensive search on to gather information on the ongoing clinical trials related to this specific topic.RESULTS:We performed an up-to-date critical review taking into account the results of both retrospective and prospective published studies evaluating these issues: Are there any predictive criteria of response to immunotherapy? What is the correct place of immunotherapy in the treatment algorithm of MCC? What is the best choice after immunotherapy failure? What to do with patients for whom immunotherapy is not been feasible or contraindicated? How long should immunotherapy be prolonged, and what follow-up should be offered after complete response?CONCLUSION:The therapeutic landscape of MCC is rapidly evolving: many open issues will probably be resolved, and many other questions are likely to arise in the next few years. The results of ongoing prospective clinical trials and of several other studies on these issues are eagerly awaited
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-443
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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