Immunotherapy before surgery could advance care of an aggressive form of skin cancer

Merkel cell carcinoma is classified as an “orphan disease” by the National Cancer Institute, diagnosed in approximately 2,000 people annually in the U.S. It typically appears as a red, blue or flesh-colored lump on the skin in older people and those who have suppressed immune systems.
In what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind study to evaluate the safety of a type of immunotherapy before surgery in patients with an aggressive form of skin cancer, researchers report that the treatment eliminated pathologic evidence of cancer in nearly half of the study participants undergoing surgery. In patients ...