Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that can be used in the treatment of advanced stages of breast cancer. An immune checkpoint inhibitor targets immune checkpoint proteins, which are formed by T cells as a result of an attack on the immune system, and allow the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Keytruda, essentially, allows T cells to attack cancer cells.
Currently, Keytruda is only approved for treating advanced stages of skin cancer, head and neck squamous cell cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer.
Keytruda Breast Cancer Treatments
In an early small study, Keytruda was tested in combination with Herceptin (trastuzumab). The study found that Keytruda may be beneficial to those with advanced stages of HER2-positive breast cancer. This would only be if a patient had not responded well to Herceptin.
The phase Ib/II study had 58 participants. These patients were given Keytruda and Herceptin through the vein (IV). Phase Ib of the study involved determining the safety of this combination of drugs. Phase II of the study was to determine how effective this treatment is.
Patients in the study received 200 milligrams of Keytruda every three weeks with a standard dosage of Herceptin for up to two years. No patients had to stop taking Keytruda due to the side effects or had to reduce the dosage amount of Keytruda that they received.
Although the study showed possible benefits, more research is needed before Keytruda can be approved to treat breast cancer. This drug is still being studied and researched and is not yet approved for the treatment of breast cancer. Talk to a doctor or oncologist to get further information on other treatments that are currently available.
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