Please note that this summary only contains information from the full scientific abstract: View ESMO Scientific Abstract

Quality of life in people with Merkel cell cancer receiving avelumab

Date of summary: September 2019

Study number: NCT02155647


Study start date: July 2014


Estimated study end date: May 2024


The full title of this abstract is: Health-related quality of life in patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma receiving second-line or later avelumab treatment: 36-month follow-up data

This study drug is approved to treat the condition under study that is discussed in this summary.


Researchers must look at the results of many types of studies to understand whether a study drug works, how it works, and whether it is safe to prescribe to patients.

This summary reports the results of only one study. The results of this study might be different from the results of other studies that the researchers look at.


More information can be found in the scientific abstract of this study, which you can access here:
View ESMO Scientific Abstract

What did this study look at?

  • Merkel cell cancer (MCC for short) is a rare form of skin cancer that grows quickly.
    • In some people, the cancer spreads to other parts of the body (known as metastatic).
  • Avelumab is approved to treat people with metastatic MCC.
    • Avelumab binds to a protein called PD-L1. This protein tells immune cells not to attack cancer cells.
    • When avelumab binds to PD-L1, it may prevent PD-L1 from working correctly, which releases the ‘brakes’ on the immune system. This may allow immune cells to attack and destroy the cancer cells.
  • In this study, researchers wanted to find out how long people had a reasonable quality of life after receiving avelumab. People completed questionnaires on certain areas of their life to see whether they improved, stayed the same or got worse during the study.
    • Researchers used the responses to calculate scores for:
      • people’s general health
      • physical, social, emotional and functional well being, and
      • specific symptoms of skin cancer such as pain and changes in skin appearance.
    • Researchers compared these scores with those people had at the start of the study.
    • A decrease in quality of life was the point when people had a lower score that did not increase again.
  • This summary describes changes in certain areas of people’s lives after receiving avelumab.

Who took part in this study?

What were the results of the study?

More results from this study can be found here:

View ESMO Scientific Abstract

What was the main conclusion reported by the researchers?

  • In this study, the proportion of people who had a reasonable quality of life decreased over time. This is what the researchers expected, as metastatic MCC can quickly get worse.
    • However, for some people receiving avelumab, some areas of their quality of life stayed the same or improved.

Who sponsored this study?

Merck KGaA
Frankfurter Strasse 250
Darmstadt, 64293, Germany
Phone (Germany): +49 6151 720


Pfizer Inc.
235 East 42nd Street NY, NY 10017
Phone (United States): +1 212-733-2323

The sponsors would like to thank all of the people who took part in this study.

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