No definitive cure is known for recurrent, persistent or metastatic cervical carcinoma. Chemotherapy remains the standard of care, although available options are scarce and do not provide satisfactory results. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have shown a strong and prolonged response in several types of cancer, although only in a subset of patients. Defining the profile of the patients likely to benefit from such treatment is a subject of active research. Here, we present a case of a heavily pretreated patient with recurrent advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix who had exhausted all available treatment options and showed a striking response to the immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, with squamous cell carcinoma accounting for 80–75% of cases . In 2013, 485,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide and it caused 236,000 deaths . Though largely preventable, it is still one of the main cancers causing death in women, especially in developing countries. In last decades, the introduction of systematic cytological screening and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination helped to reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality [2,3]; however, the extent of implementation of these preventive programs varies strongly between countries, even within the EU .