pathology slide of melanoma tissue

A new cancer drug, pembrolizumab (Keytruda), produced encouraging results for melanoma patients. It was approved last year for patients whose melanoma had not responded to ipilimumab (Yervoy).

In the new study, 830 patients with metastatic melanoma were randomly assigned to take Keytruda every two weeks, Keytruda every three weeks or the standard Yervoy regimen. After a year, three-fourths of those who got Keytruda every two weeks were still alive. Just over half of those who got Yervoy had survived.

Early Finish for Study

The study was stopped early because of the significant survival benefit. Keytruda was also associated with fewer side effects than Yervoy.

Lung Cancer Benefit

In another study, Keytruda showed promise against hard-to-treat non-small cell lung cancer.

Although we are still far from curing cancer, the new immunotherapy drugs offer exciting benefits, especially in patients whose genes make them particularly responsive to these medications.

Presented at AACR, Philadelphia, April 19, 2015; New England Journal of Medicine, online Apr. 19, 2015 

These results are exciting, but there are concerns about the very high price of these drugs. Can individuals or even society as a whole afford them, or will they send the health care system into bankruptcy? We have written about this topic here. It would be a tragedy if someone had a cancer that could be effectively treated with Keytruda, but died because he could not afford to take it.
photo credit: Yale Rosen https://www.flickr.com/photos/pulmonary_pathology/ cc license cropped

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Total
USD
Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.