Libtayo® (cemiplimab-rwlc)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: February, 2022.

Libtayo® (cemiplimab-rwlc) is a type of immunotherapy used to treat certain forms of advanced basal cell carcinoma and advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, specifically:

  • Metastatic (has spread to other parts of the body) cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) or locally advanced CSCC in patients who are not eligible for surgery or radiation to cure their CSCC
  • Locally advanced or metastatic basal cell carcinoma (BCC) that has already been treated with a drug known as a hedgehog pathway inhibitor, or is unable to be treated with a hedgehog pathway inhibitor

What is the ingredient in Libtayo?

The active ingredient in Libtayo is cemiplimab-rwlc, a PD-1 (programmed cell death protein-1) blocker.1

How does Libtayo work?

PD-1 is a receptor found on specific immune system cells, including T cells. Cancer cells try to hide from T-cells. Some cancer cells have proteins called PD-L1 or PD-L2 (programmed death ligand-1 or 2) on their outside surface. When PD-L1 or PD-L2 binds (connects) to PD-1, it basically acts like an “off switch” for the T-cell. This makes the T-cell ignore the cancer cell.2 Libtayo binds to the PD-1 receptor.1 This blocks the receptor from interacting with PD-L1 or PD-L2. The T-cell is then able to identify and attack the cancer cell.1

What are the possible side effects of Libtayo?

The most common side effects experienced by patients receiving Libtayo include:1

  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Bone or muscle pain
  • Diarrhea

Libtayo may cause serious side effects, including causing the immune system to attack healthy organs or tissues in the body. Some reactions have been life-threatening or may lead to death, including lung problems, intestinal problems, liver problems, hormone gland problems, skin problems, and kidney problems.1

This is not an exhaustive list of all potential side effects of Libtayo. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist for further information.

Things to know about Libtayo

While receiving Libtayo, patients should be monitored for infusion-related reactions.1 Infusion-related reactions are a rare but potentially serious hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction, which may cause symptoms such as rash, fever, nausea, and difficulty breathing. Treatment for infusion-related reactions may involve other medications or slowing the infusion rate.3

Receiving Libtayo

Libtayo is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion over 30 minutes. Your doctor will arrange for you to be given Libtayo. Patients should talk to their doctor if they have any questions, or if they have questions regarding their Libtayo regimen.1

Before starting treatment with Libtayo, patients should tell their doctor about all medications (prescription and over-the-counter), herbal supplements, and vitamins they are taking.

For more information, read the full prescribing information for Libtayo.