Treatment of metastatic alveolar soft part sarcoma with axitinib and pembrolizumab in an 80-year-old patient with a history of autoimmune disorders

Anticancer Drugs. 2023 Feb 1;34(2):311-316. doi: 10.1097/CAD.0000000000001398. Epub 2023 Oct 6.


Alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS) is a rare malignancy with low sensitivity to chemotherapy. While localized ASPS has a very good prognosis after resection, the 5-year overall survival rate drops substantially in metastatic disease. We report the case of an 80-year-old male patient with ASPS of the left elbow and metastasis to the lung, lymph nodes and peritoneum. After weighing the benefits and risks, systemic treatment with the anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab combined with the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosinkinase inhibitor axitinib was initiated in this patient with a history of psoriasis and Crohn's disease. After only two cycles of therapy, a significant size reduction of the nodal cervical metastasis became apparent. A partial response of all metastases was then confirmed in the first computed tomography restaging. So far, side effects have remained manageable, especially with regard to the development or worsening of autoimmune adverse events. The patient continued to have a high quality of life, while also remaining in ongoing partial response for 15 months at the time of submission. While sarcomas generally have low sensitivity to immunotherapies, ASPS is an exception, and checkpoint inhibition is an integral part of its systemic therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Axitinib / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Sarcoma, Alveolar Soft Part* / drug therapy
  • Sarcoma, Alveolar Soft Part* / pathology
  • Sarcoma, Alveolar Soft Part* / surgery
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A


  • Axitinib
  • pembrolizumab
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors