Existing user? Login


Pembrolizumab extends survival in recurrent head and neck cancer

A study of nearly 500 patients with head and neck cancers reveals that pembrolizumab could extend survival compared with methotrexate, docetaxel or cetuximab, which are the standard of care.

Pembrolizumab significantly extends the survival of patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, compared with the current standard of care, according to the results of a phase III trial published in The Lancet (30 November 2018)[1].

The study involved 495 patients with disease progression either during or after platinum-based chemotherapy, who were randomly assigned to pembrolizumab 200mg every three weeks or standard of care (which is methotrexate, docetaxel or cetuximab).

The researchers found that median overall survival was significantly longer in the pembrolizumab group at 8.4 months, compared with 6.9 months in the standard of care group. Sub analyses indicated that higher expression of PD-L1, the checkpoint inhibitor targeted by pembrolizumab, predicted a greater response to therapy.

At least half of patients with this type of cancer develop recurrence or metastatic disease within three years of initial treatment, the researchers explained.

“The clinically meaningful prolongation of overall survival and favourable safety profile of pembrolizumab … support the further evaluation of pembrolizumab as a monotherapy and as part of combination therapy in earlier stages of disease,” the team concluded.

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2018.20205893

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Patient Care in Community Practice

    Patient Care in Community Practice is a unique, practical guide for healthcare professionals or carers. Covers a range of non-medicinal products suitable for use at home.

  • Sport and Exercise Medicine for Pharmacists

    All the information you need to provide patients with evidence-based advice on sports and exercise related health matters.

  • Introduction to Renal Therapeutics

    Introduction to Renal Therapeutics covers all aspects of drug use in renal failure. Shows the role of the pharmacist in patient care for chronic kidney disease.

  • Drugs and the Liver

    Drugs and the Liver assists practitioners in making pragmatic choices for their patients. It enables you to assess liver function and covers the principles of drug use in liver disease.

  • Community Pharmacy Handbook

    Community Pharmacy Handbook is a survival guide for community pharmacists and students, answering your practical questions. Includes case studies.


Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.