Original Research| Volume 127, P108-117, March 2020

Systemic treatment of patients with advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: response rates and outcomes of the regimes used

Published:January 28, 2020DOI:


      • There are limited prospective studies on systemic therapy for advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.
      • Cisplatin-based chemotherapy is not always superior to other drugs.
      • RCT improves overall survival in patients with nodal squamous cell carcinoma.



      Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer. Few patients with cSCC experience metastases, but the prognosis of advanced cSCC (acSCC) is dismal. Evidence regarding systemic therapy for acSCC is limited. Therefore, we aimed to determine the most effective systemic treatment for acSCC.

      Patients and methods

      This retrospective study involved 16 Japanese institutions. We documented patient and tumour characteristics and disease course of patients with acSCC who received systemic therapy between 1st January 2006 and 31st December 2015. We compared the overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) for (1) platinum versus non-platinum groups, (2) radiation plus chemotherapy first-line therapy (RCT) versus non-RCT groups and (3) platinum-based RCT versus non–platinum-based RCT groups.


      Although the use of platinum-based systemic therapy was not associated with statistically significant improvements in PFS and OS, there were significant differences between the RCT and non-RCT groups (PFS: p < 0.001, OS: p = 0.003). In the subgroup analysis, RCT significantly prolonged PFS and OS in the nodal SCC (nSCC) group. For the RCT and non-RCT groups, the median OS was 110 and 14 months, respectively, and the 5-year OS rate was 54% and 21%, respectively.


      RCT could improve OS in patients with nSCC. However, further multicenter prospective studies are needed to establish evidence for superiority of RCT.


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