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Innovation Observatory > Reports > Drugs > Pembrolizumab in combination with ipilimumab for advanced non-small cell lung cancer

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Pembrolizumab in combination with ipilimumab for advanced non-small cell lung cancer


Cancer and Palliative Care

August 2020

Pembrolizumab in combination with ipilimumab is under development for the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which comprises the majority of lung cancers in the UK. Symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, aches and pains in the chest or shoulder, loss of appetite, weight loss and fatigue. While current treatments exist for NSCLC, significant unmet medical need remains for more effective treatment options. Combining different technologies targeting complementary pathways might result in additional or complementary antitumor activity.
Pembrolizumab is a humanised monoclonal anti‐programmed cell death‐1 (PD‐1) antibody. Pembrolizumab works by improving the activity of white blood cells in killing cancer cells by blocking PD-L1. Ipilimumab increases the activity of T-cells against cancer cells. If licensed, this combination of pembrolizumab and ipilimumab administered intravenously could offer a treatment for patients with NSCLC whose tumours express high levels of PD-L1.

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