Eruptive Keratoacanthomas Associated With Pembrolizumab Therapy

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Abstract

Importance

To our knowledge, there have been no previous reports of eruptive keratoacanthomas (KAs) in patients receiving pembrolizumab.

Objective

To report the cases of 3 consecutive patients with pembrolizumab-induced eruptive KAs and their management.

Design, Setting, and Participants

Case report study of 3 patients from 2 centers with pembrolizumab-treated cancer who all developed eruptive KAs.

Interventions

All 3 patients had AK treatment with clobetasol ointment and intralesional triamcinolone; 2 patients also underwent open superficial cryosurgery.

Results

Three consecutive patients with cancer, 2 men and 1 woman (median age, 83 years; range 77-91 years), experienced pembrolizumab-associated eruptive KAs. All patients presented with a sudden onset of multiple lesions on sun-exposed areas of their extremities after a median of 13 months (range, 4-18 months) of pembrolizumab therapy. On lesional biopsy, a lichenoid infiltrate was observed in the underlying dermis, predominantly composed of CD3+ T cells, scattered CD20+ B cells, and relatively few PD-1+ (programmed cell death 1–positive) T cells, an immunophenotypic pattern also observed in other cases of anti–PD-1–induced lichenoid dermatitis. Patients were treated with clobetasol ointment and intralesional triamcinolone, alone or in combination with open superficial cryosurgery. All KAs resolved in all patients, and no new lesions occurred during close follow-up. Pembrolizumab treatment was continued without disruption in all 3 cases, and all patients had complete responses of their primary cancers.

Conclusions and Relevance

Pembrolizumab is used in advanced melanoma, advanced non–small-cell lung cancer, and in head and neck cancer. A variety of dermatologic immune-related adverse events including maculopapular eruption, lichenoid reactions, pruritus, and vitiligo have been described. This case series demonstrates that pembrolizumab therapy may also be associated with eruptive KAs with characteristic dermal inflammation, which improved with corticosteroid treatment (topical and intralesional) alone or in combination with cryosurgery, allowing patients to continue therapy with pembrolizumab.

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