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Keytruda – an immunotherapy drug to conquer lung cancer

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Human antibody Pembrolizumab” which is trade named as Keytruda” is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used as an immunotherapy in the treatment of melanoma or lung cancer.

  • It will treat patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by targeting a protein called PD-L1 (programmed death ligand 1) releases by their tumor.

Keytruda – an immunotherapy drug to conquer lung cancer

Gregory Carven, Hans van and John Dulos

Pharmaceutical Merck & Co. based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, US

It may be used when patient’s lung cancer or melanoma has been spread and cannot be removed after surgery.

In case of lung cancer

  • Positive test results for “PD-L1”
  • Patients tumor has an has an abnormal “EGFR” (Epidermal growth factor receptor ) or “ALK” (Anaplastic lymphoma kinas) gene and patient has tried EGFR or ALK inhibitor medicine and also tried chemotherapy that contains platinum it did not work or no longer effective.

In case of melanoma (Skin cancer)

  • If a patient tried a drug ipilimumab and it did not work
  • Patient’s tumor has an abnormal “BRAF” gene and has tried a different medicine called a BRAF inhibitor and it did not work or is no longer effective.

It was approved after the testing that has been done on 550 patients suffering with advanced lung cancer out of which 61 had the genetic mutation. They had been treated with chemotherapy while using Keytruda and results was fruitful as tumor reduced in 41% of the patients.

Common side effects of Keytruda are anemia, itching, nausea, fatigue, decreased appetite, shortness of breath (dyspnea) and cough.

As per National Cancer Institute Lung cancer is foremost cause of cancer death in the US with an estimated 221,200 new diagnoses and 158,040 deaths in 2015.