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What Pembrolizumab Is Used For:

  • Treatment of recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer in patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (combined positive score [CPS] ≥ 1), as determined by an approved test, and with disease progression on or after chemotherapy.
  • Treatment of recurrent locally advanced or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma in patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥ 1), as determined by an approved test, with disease progression on or after two or more prior lines of therapy including fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy, and if appropriate, HER2/neu-targeted therapy.
  • Patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors express PD-L1 as determined by an FDA-approved test and who have disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy.
  • For treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy.
  • Treatment of primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) in adult or pediatric patients with refractory disease ow ho have relapsed after 2 or more prior lines of therapy.
  • For treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), or those who have relapsed after three or more prior lines of therapy.
  • For treatment of locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy.

How Pembrolizumab Is Given:

Pembrolizumab is given as an intravenous injection through a vein (IV) over 30 minutes every 3 weeks.

You may receive medications before the infusion to reduce allergic reactions.

The amount of pembrolizumab that you will receive depends on many factors, including your weight, your general health or other health problems, and the type of cancer or condition being treated. Your doctor will determine your dose and schedule.

Side Effects:

  • Important things to remember about the side effects of pembrolizumab:
  • Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
  • Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration.
  • A few side effects can occur weeks or months after discontinuation of treatment.
  • There are many options to help manage and prevent worsening of side effects.
  • There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the effectiveness of the medication.

What Are the Goals of Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)?

Pembrolizumab works as a systemic treatment with the goals of:Controlling melanoma and shrinking tumors anywhere in the bodyTreating symptoms of melanomaHelping patients live longer

Because pembrolizumab is an antibody that works through your immune system, it can produce an immunological “memory” in T cells. That means that pembrolizumab may help your immune system continue to attack melanoma cells even after treatment.

Melanoma treatments, like pembrolizumab, have side effects, which can sometimes be serious. Patients should talk with their physician to learn more about the side effects of pembrolizumab and other melanoma treatment options.

How Keytruda works

Keytruda works by aiding the body’s own immune system to fight and kill cancer cells.

Normally, the immune system can detect and target an abnormal cell for destruction using lymphocytes (white blood cells involved in the immune response) called T-cells. However, to prevent the T-cells from attacking the body’s own cells, the immune system has a series of checkpoints. One of these checkpoints is the PD-1 pathway. Some tumor cells “hijack” the pathway to hide from T-cells and escape being targeted. T-cells normally produce a receptor protein called programmed cell death 1 (PD-1), which blocks killing a cell when it interacts with ligands (small molecules that, in this case, are attached to other cells) called PD-L1. Some tumor cells produce these ligands to evade T-cells.