Keytruda, the recently US approved drug shows early promise for some patients with advanced lung cancer though it is approved for advanced melanoma. The drug boosts the cancer-fighting potential and the body's immune system.
Keytruda (pembrolizumab) belongs to a new group of drugs that blocks a pathway called PD-1, which then frees up the immune system to attack cancer cells approved another PD-1 drug nivolumab (Opdivo) for treating some cases of advanced lung cancer.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute estimates that only about one-third of patients see any tumor shrinkage with standard chemotherapy, and even with treatment, people typically survive for a year.
The tumors for nearly 19% patients shrunk by 30% but among patients with PD-L1 activity, 45% responded to the drug. Although Keytruda is on the market, it is not specifically approved for lung cancer yet.