Vismodegib use ups risk of subsequent squamous cell carcinoma
Treatment with vismodegib does not appear to increase the risk of subsequent squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in comparison with standard surgical treatment of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a recent study suggests.
“Vismodegib is a first-in-class agent targeting the hedgehog signaling pathway for treatment of patients with locally advanced BCC and metastatic BCC,” researchers explained.
Researchers performed a retrospective cohort study to decide whether use of vismodegib is associated with an increase in the risk of cutaneous SCC. They compared patients who received vismodegib as part of phase I and II clinical studies with participants from the University of California, San Francisco, Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Cohort who were treated with standard therapy for primary BCC.
A total of 1,675 patients were included in the analysis. The authors evaluated the development of SCC after treatment with vismodegib.
Results showed that use of vismodegib did not correlate with a heightened risk of subsequent development of SCC (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.57; 95 percent CI, 0.28 to 1.16). On the other hand, the development of SCC was significantly associated with covariates, such as age, sex, history of previous nonmelanoma skin cancer and number of visits per year.
This study was limited by the use of a historic control cohort as a comparator, according to researchers.
In an earlier study by Mohan and colleagues, findings showed that vismodegib use increased the risk of developing a non-BCC malignancy, most of which were cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas. This highlighted the importance of continued skin surveillance after initiation of the said therapy. [JAMA Dermatol 2016;152:527-32]