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Innovation Observatory > Reports > Drugs > Pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy for the treatment of gastric cancer or gastro-oesophageal junction cancer – First Line

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Pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy for the treatment of gastric cancer or gastro-oesophageal junction cancer – First Line

Drugs

Cancer and Palliative Care

October 2021


Pembrolizumab in addition to chemotherapy is being developed as first-line treatment of HER2 negative advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma in adults. Cancers of the stomach (gastric cancers) and at the intersection of the stomach and the oesophagus (gastroesophageal cancers) often start in the gland cells – these cancers are called adenocarcinomas. As the early symptoms of these adenocarcinomas can be unspecific, they are often detected late and are associated with poor life expectancy, as there are limited treatments available once the cancer is advanced.
Pembrolizumab is an intravenously (IV) administered drug that is already approved for use in other types of cancers. Pembrolizumab is a monoclonal antibody (a protein) that binds to and blocks a specific receptor expressed on certain types of cancer. It is now being investigated in a clinical trial with chemotherapy as an initial (first line) treatment option for people diagnosed with advanced HER2 negative gastric or gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas. If licensed for use in the UK, pembrolizumab would provide a new treatment option for patients who currently have a poor life expectancy and few treatment options.

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