Keytruda, or pembrolizumab, is a clinical trial immunotherapy drug. Specifically, it is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that may help with the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. Keytruda breast cancer treatments work by making the immune system work more efficiently in order to attack cancer cells.
Specific proteins on the surface of cells, known as immune checkpoints, can usually distinguish between cells that are a part of ‘yourself’ and other possible harmful outsiders. In the case of cancer, cancerous cells will use these proteins to avoid detection and attack by the immune system. This is where immune checkpoint inhibitors come in to help prevent that from happening.
Keytruda Breast Cancer Treatments
Keytruda is currently approved as a treatment for advanced stage skin cancer, some non-small cell lung cancers, and advanced stage head and neck squamous cell cancer. It is being considered for the treatment of breast cancer.
There are currently no immune checkpoint inhibitors appropriate for the treatment of breast cancer.
In a study on Keytruda, it showed that when combined with Herceptin (trastuzumab) it might provide benefits to metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer that had stopped responding to Herceptin.
A total of 58 patients participated in the study. Each took 200 milligrams of Keytruda and Herceptin every three weeks for a total of two years. Throughout the study, none of the patients had to reduce their dose of Keytruda due to any side effects. The study shows encouraging results for Keytruda as a treatment for breast cancer.
Keytruda requires further studying before it could be an official treatment.
Ultimately, it is important to go and see your doctor or oncologist for information on currently available medications and therapies meant to treat breast cancer.
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