Chemoimmunotherapy after progression on single-agent pembrolizumab for metastatic urothelial carcinoma: A case series

Daniel S. Childs, J. Fernando Quevedo, Brian A. Costello, Lance C. Pagliaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Those with metastatic urothelial carcinoma generally respond more poorly to chemotherapy after they have progression on a checkpoint inhibitor (CPI). There is interest in combining CPIs with conventional cytotoxic chemotherapies as a strategy to exploit the efficacy and immunomodulatory effects of chemotherapy. We conducted a single institution, retrospective analysis including all patients treated between May 2018 and May 2020 with carboplatin and paclitaxel, concurrently or sequential with pembrolizumab, after having progression on a CPI alone. Clinical characteristics, response by RECIST 1.1, progression-free survival, and safety/tolerance of the treatment are reported. Median age was 80 years (64-85). Five patients (100%) had visceral metastases when starting carboplatin and paclitaxel. Chemotherapy was given with concurrent pembrolizumab (four patients) or following pembrolizumab (one patient) and continued until maximum response, significant toxicity, or progression. Two patients subsequently remained on maintenance pembrolizumab. There were four partial responses and one patient with stable disease. All patients on follow-up have progressed with median time to progression of 47 weeks (18-75). Two patients died from disease progression. This case series suggests that the combination of carboplatin, paclitaxel, and pembrolizumab leads to durable freedom from progression in some with metastatic urothelial cancer, who have progressed on a CPI alone. Larger studies of chemoimmunotherapy for metastatic urothelial carcinoma are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-990
Number of pages5
JournalAnti-cancer drugs
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • bladder cancer
  • chemoimmunotherapy
  • chemotherapy
  • metastatic
  • urothelial carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Cancer Research


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