for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
at La Jolla, California and other locations
study started
estimated completion



This is a randomized, double-blind, study that compares pembrolizumab (MK-3475) with placebo given as adjuvant therapy in participants with high-risk locally advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (LA cSCC) that have undergone surgery with curative intent in combination with radiotherapy. The primary hypothesis is that pembrolizumab is superior to placebo in increasing recurrence free survival (RFS).

Official Title

A Phase 3, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study to Evaluate Pembrolizumab Versus Placebo as Adjuvant Therapy Following Surgery and Radiation in Participants With High-risk Locally Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma (LA cSCC) (KEYNOTE-630)


Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Programmed Cell Death-1 (PD-1) Programmed Cell Death 1 PD1 Programmed Cell Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) Programmed Cell Death Ligand 2 (PD-L2) PDL1 PDL2 Carcinoma Pembrolizumab Pembrolizumab 400 mg


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

  • Has histologically confirmed cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) as the primary site of malignancy (metastatic skin involvement from another primary cancer or from an unknown primary cancer is not permitted)
  • Has histologically confirmed LA cSCC with ≥1 high-risk feature(s) as the primary site of malignancy
  • Has undergone complete macroscopic resection of all known cSCC disease with or without microscopic positive margins. For those participants with residual microscopic positive margin involvement, confirmation that additional re-excision is not possible must be provided
  • Has completed adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) for LA cSCC with last dose of RT ≥4 weeks and ≤16 weeks from randomization
  • Has received an adequate post-op dose of RT (either hypofractionated or conventional)
  • Is disease free as assessed by the investigator with complete radiographic staging assessment ≤28 days from randomization
  • Is not pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Is not a woman of childbearing potential (WOCBP)
  • Has a negative pregnancy test ≤72 hours before the first dose of study intervention.
  • Has provided an archival or newly-obtained tumor tissue sample adequate for Programmed Cell Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) testing as determined by central laboratory testing
  • Has a life expectancy of >3 months
  • Has an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0 or 1 ≤10 days prior to the first dose of study intervention.

You CAN'T join if...

  • Has macroscopic residual cSCC after surgery and/or recurrence with active cSCC disease before randomization
  • Has any other histologic type of skin cancer other than invasive cSCC (eg, basal cell carcinoma) that has not been definitively treated with surgery or radiation; Bowen's disease; Merkel cell carcinoma; or melanoma
  • Has received prior therapy with an anti-programmed cell death receptor 1(PD-1), anti- PD-L1, or anti-programmed cell death receptor ligand 2 (PD-L2) agent or with an agent directed to another co-stimulatory or co-inhibitory T-cell receptor (eg, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 [CTLA-4], OX-40, CD137)
  • Has received prior systemic anticancer therapy including investigational agents for cSCC ≤4 weeks prior to randomization
  • Has not recovered from all radiation-related toxicities and has not had radiation pneumonitis
  • Has received a live vaccine ≤30 days prior to the first dose of study intervention
  • Is currently participating in or has participated in a study of an investigational agent or has used an investigational device ≤4 weeks prior to the first dose of study intervention
  • Has an active autoimmune disease that has required systemic treatment in past 2 years (ie, with use of disease modifying agents, corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs)
  • Has a history of (noninfectious) pneumonitis/interstitial lung disease that required steroids or has current pneumonitis/interstitial lung disease
  • Has an active infection requiring systemic therapy
  • Has a known history of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
  • Has a known history of hepatitis B (defined as hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg] reactive) or known active hepatitis C virus (HCV; defined as HCV RNA [qualitative] is detected) infection
  • Is pregnant or breastfeeding or expecting to conceive or father children within the projected duration of the study, starting with the screening visit through 120 days after the last dose of study intervention
  • Has had an allogeneic tissue/solid organ transplant


  • UCSD Moores Cancer Center ( Site 1561) accepting new patients
    La Jolla California 92093 United States
  • City of Hope Medical Center ( Site 1505) accepting new patients
    Duarte California 91010 United States


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC
Merck Oncology Clinical Trial Information
Phase 3 Squamous Cell Carcinoma Research Study
Study Type
Expecting 570 study participants
Last Updated