Neoadjuvant Cemiplimab in Stage I-II Merkel Cell Carcinoma: Safety and Biomarker Analysis

  • End date
    Jul 8, 2026
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute
Updated on 8 June 2022
platelet count
renal function
neutrophil count


The goal of this clinical research study is to determine if Cemiplimab-rwlc (called Cemiplimab in this document) given prior to tumor resection surgery is safe and effective in treating Merkel Cell Carcinoma.

Condition Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Treatment Cemiplimab-Rwlc
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04975152
SponsorH. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute
Last Modified on8 June 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Histologically proven diagnosis of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)
Clinical stage I-II MCC (AJCC 8th edition)
Patients must be considered candidates for wide local surgical excision and sentinel lymph node biopsy
Provision of signed and dated informed consent form
Stated willingness to comply with all study procedures and availability for the duration of the study
Male or female, aged at least 18 years
ECOG performance Status of 0, 1, or 2
Adequate baseline laboratory assessments within 28 days of study registration
Adequate hepatic function: i. Total bilirubin ≤1.5 x upper limit of normal (ULN) (NOTE: For patients with Gilbert's syndrome, total bilirubin ≤3 x ULN) ii. Transaminases (aspartate aminotransferase [AST] and alanine aminotransferase [ALT]) ≤3 x ULN iii. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) ≤2.5 x ULN
Adequate renal function: Serum creatinine ≤1.5 x ULN or estimated creatinine clearance (CrCl) >30 mL/min according to the method of Cockcroft and Gault
Adequate bone marrow function: i. Hemoglobin ≥9.0 g/dL ii. Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) ≥1.0 x 109/L iii. Platelet count ≥75 x 109/L
Patients who are HIV+ with undetectable HIV viral load are eligible
For females of reproductive potential: use of highly effective contraception for at least 1 month prior to screening and agreement to use such a method during study participation and for an additional 6 months after the end of cemiplimab administration
For males of reproductive potential: use of condoms or other methods to ensure effective contraception with partner

Exclusion Criteria

Concurrent malignancy other than localized CSCC and/or history of malignancy other than Merkel cell carcinoma within 3 years of date of registration on the study, except for tumors with negligible risk of metastasis or death, such as adequately treated (BCC) of the skin, carcinoma in situ of the cervix, or ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast, or low- risk early stage prostate adenocarcinoma (T1-T2aN0M0 and Gleason score ≤6 and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) ≤10 ng/mL) for which the management plan is active surveillance, or prostate adenocarcinoma with biochemical-only recurrence with documented PSA doubling time of >12 months for which the management plan is active surveillance
Patients with hematologic malignancies (eg, chronic lymphocytic leukemia [CLL])
Ongoing or recent (within 5 years of registration date) evidence of significant autoimmune disease that required treatment with systemic immunosuppressive treatments, which may suggest risk for immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Further, patients requiring chronic immune-suppressive therapy are excluded. The following are not exclusionary: vitiligo, childhood asthma that has resolved, type 1 diabetes, residual hypothyroidism that required only hormone replacement, or psoriasis that does not require systemic treatment
Pregnancy or lactation
Has participated in a study of an investigational agent or an investigational device within 4 weeks of the enrollment date
Receipt of a live vaccine within 28 days of the registration date
Has had prior systemic anti-cancer immunotherapy for MCC. Examples of immune modulating agents include but are not limited to blockers of CTLA-4, 4-1BB (CD137), or OX-40, therapeutic vaccines, anti-PD-1/PD-L1
Immunosuppressive corticosteroid doses (>10 mg prednisone daily or equivalent) within 4 weeks prior to the first dose of cemiplimab/placebo
NOTE: Patients who require brief course of corticosteroids (eg, prophylaxis for imaging
assessments due to hypersensitivity to contrast agents) are not excluded. People taking
steroids for physiologic replacement (ie, adrenal insufficiency) are NOT excluded
Has received treatment with an approved anticancer systemic therapy within 4 weeks of the
registration date or has not yet recovered (ie, ≤ grade 1 or baseline) from any acute
NOTE: Patients receiving bisphosphonates or denosumab are not excluded
toxicities except for laboratory changes as described in the inclusion criteria
Prior allogeneic stem cell transplantation, or autologous stem cell transplantation
Encephalitis, meningitis, or uncontrolled seizures in the year prior to screening
Patients who have permanently discontinued anti-cancer immune modulating therapies due
to drug-related toxicity
Patients with myocardial infarction within 6 months prior to the registration date
Active tuberculosis
Any infection requiring hospitalization and/or intravenous antibiotic therapy within 2
weeks of the registration date
Uncontrolled infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B or
hepatitis C virus (HBV or HCV) infection; or diagnosis of immunodeficiency
Patients who are HCV antibody positive (HCV Ab+) who have controlled infection
Patients with known HIV infection who have controlled infection (undetectable viral
load (HIV RNA PCR) and CD4 count above 350, either spontaneously or on a stable
History of immune related pneumonitis within the last 5 years
antiviral regimen) are permitted. For patients with controlled HIV infection
monitoring will be performed per local standards
Patients with HBV (hepatitis B surface antigen positive; HepBsAg+) who have controlled
infection (serum HBV DNA PCR that is below the limit of detection AND receiving anti-
viral therapy for HBV) are permitted. Patients with controlled infections must undergo
periodic monitoring of HBV DNA. Patients must remain on anti-viral therapy for at
least 6 months beyond the last dose of investigational study drug
(undetectable HCV RNA by PCR, either spontaneously or in response to a successful prior
course of anti-HCV therapy) are permitted
History of interstitial lung disease (eg, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, organizing
pneumonia) or active, noninfectious pneumonitis that required immune-suppressive doses
of glucocorticoids to assist with management. A history of radiation pneumonitis in
the radiation field is permitted as long as pneumonitis resolved ≥6 months prior to
the registration date
History of documented allergic reactions or acute hypersensitivity reaction attributed
to antibody treatments
Known hypersensitivity or allergy to any of the excipients in the cemiplimab drug
Patients with a history of solid organ transplant (exception: patients with prior
corneal transplant are not excluded)
Any medical co-morbidity, physical examination finding, or metabolic dysfunction, or
clinical laboratory abnormality that, in the opinion of the investigator, renders the
patient unsuitable for participation in a clinical trial due to high safety risks
and/or potential to affect interpretation of results of the study
Known psychiatric or substance abuse disorders that would interfere with participation
with the requirements of the study
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