Liver cancer gains new immunotherapeutic biopharmaceutical: pembrolizumab

Pembrolizumab, previously approved for various types of cancer diseases, has been approved for use in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Immunotherapies thrive in research initiatives and tumor therapeutic approaches. In 2018 they were appreciated by Nobel comitte, which gave award to James Allison and Tasuku Honjo for pioneering use of patient’s own immune system in cancer treatment.

Since 2014, pembrolizumab blocking PD-1 checkpoint was approved for cancers: melanoma, non-small cell lung, head and neck squamous cell, classical hodgkin lymphoma, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, urothelial, microsatellite instability high, gastric, cervical, and now – for liver cancer.

Proposed use of pembrolizumab applies to patients which did not respond to standard sorafenib.

In a trial of the drug, 15% of patient have seen tumor shrinkage lasting for at least half year. Only one patient was entirely cured (0,96% of all patients in the trial).

More: “KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Prescribing Information”, https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2018/125514s042lbl.pdf.