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Innovation Observatory > Reports > Drugs > Pembrolizumab in addition to cisplatin and fluorouracil for recurrent locally advanced or metastatic oesophageal cancer – First-line

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Pembrolizumab in addition to cisplatin and fluorouracil for recurrent locally advanced or metastatic oesophageal cancer – First-line

Drugs

Cancer and Palliative Care

December 2019


Pembrolizumab in addition to cisplatin and fluorouracil is being developed for patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic oesophageal cancer. Advanced or metastatic oesophageal cancer begins in the food pipe and spreads to other parts of the body. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, persistent acid indigestion or heartburn, weight loss, pain in the throat, and chronic cough. Lifestyle factors are attributed to most oesophageal cancers, including smoking and being overweight. Advanced or metastatic cancer cannot usually be cured and current treatment with chemotherapy aim to control the disease, relieve symptoms, and give patients a better quality of life.
Pembrolizumab is administered by intravenous infusion and works by improving the activity of white blood cells (T-cells) thereby increasing the ability of the immune system to kill cancer cells. Cisplatin and fluorouracil are both standard chemotherapies that are used in treating many different types of advanced or metastatic cancers. If licensed, pembrolizumab in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil may offer an additional treatment option for patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic oesophageal cancer.

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