Our team based in Seattle conducted a comprehensive review including evolving trends in the management of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). This summary covers key decision points, including recommended work-up during initial diagnosis, treatment options for MCC when it’s in one place or has spread, management of recurrent MCC, and new treatments that are showing promise with fewer side effects and good results. This review gives valuable information on how to handle MCC overall and emphasizes new methods that are effective and less toxic on patients.
Inhibitory signaling in dysfunctional CD8 T cells through the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) axis is well established in chronic viral infections and cancers. PD-1 is also transiently induced to high concentrations during priming of acute infections and immunizations, yet its impact on the development of long-lived antigen-independent T cell memory remains unclear. In addition to its expected role in restraining clonal effector expansion, here, we show that PD-1 expression on antigen-specific CD8 T cells is required for the development of a durable CD8 T cell memory pool after antigen clearance. Loss of T cell–specific PD-1 signaling led to increased contraction and a defect in antigen-independent renewal of memory CD8 T cells in response to homeostatic cytokine signals, thus resulting in attrition of the memory pool over time. Whereas exhausted CD8 T cells regain function after PD-1 checkpoint blockade during chronic viral infection, the preexisting pool of resting functional bystander memory CD8 T cells established in response to a previously administered immunogen decreased. Metabolically, PD-1 signals were necessary for regulating the critical balance of mTOR-dependent anabolic glycolysis and fatty acid oxidation programs to meet the bioenergetic needs of quiescent CD8 T cell memory. These results define PD-1 as a key metabolic regulator of protective T cell immunity. Furthermore, these results have potential clinical implications for preexisting CD8 T cell memory during PD-1 checkpoint blockade therapy.