Development of cutaneous adverse events while receiving pembrolizumab has been linked with better treatment response, especially in patients with melanoma, suggested a study published online in JAMA Dermatology.

Pembrolizumab, an immunomodulatory anti-programmed death-1 drug is associated with cutaneous adverse events. In this single-institution, retrospective medical record review, 83 patients who were enrolled in two clinical trials and received at least one dose of pembrolizumab were included.

Patients were grouped into the following regimens: 43 patients received 10 mg/kg every 3 weeks, 24 patients received 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks, 16 patients received 2 mg/kg every 3 weeks.

Continue Reading

A total of 66 patients were treated for melanoma, 15 patients were treated for lung cancer, one patient for prostate cancer, and one patient for Merkel cell carcinoma. Patients were evaluated for occurrence, severity, type of cutaneous adverse event, as well as treatment response.

RELATED: Veliparib Plus Temozolomide for Melanoma Improves Progression-Free Survival

Nearly half (42%) of all patients developed cutaneous adverse events. The most common were macular papular eruption (24 [29%]), pruritus (10 [12%]), and hypopigmentation (7 [8%]). All patients who experienced hypopigmentation were being treated for melanoma.

Survival analysis revealed that patients with cutaneous adverse events had significantly longer progression-free intervals in all groups compared with patients who did not.


  1. Sanlorenzo M, Vujic I, Daud A, et al. Pembrolizumab cutaneous adverse events and their association with disease progression. JAMA Derm. 2015. [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.1916.