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Innovation Observatory > Reports > Drugs > Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for relapsed/refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma

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Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for relapsed/refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma


Cancer and Palliative Care

October 2018

Pembrolizumab is a medicinal product that is being investigated as treatment for patients with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) who have failed to achieve a
response or progressed after autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT), or have not received, or who are not candidates for ASCT. Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer of the lymphatic
system and it is the most common type. The condition is called relapsed or refractory when it recurs after a period of improvement or when it does not respond to treatment. The most
common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is a swelling in the neck, armpit or groin.
Pembrolizumab, given by intravenous infusion, acts by binding to a protein called antiprogrammed death‐ligand 1 (PD‐L1) that is found on the cancer cells or immune cells trying
to attack cancer cells. Binding to this protein can lead to the activation of the body’s immune system to fight tumour cells. In cHL, pembrolizumab has promising results. If licensed it will
provide a treatment option for cHL patients who have failed ASCT or are not eligible for it.

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