Pembrolizumab, in addition to chemotherapy, is being developed for the treatment of persistent, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer. Cervical cancer develops in the lower part of the womb and mainly affects sexually active women aged between 30 and 45 years. Cervical cancer that has spread to another part of the body is called advanced or metastatic cancer. Cancer that returns after months or years of the completion of the initial treatment is called recurrent cancer. Whilst chemoradiotherapy (chemotherapy and radiotherapy) is offered to patients with cervical cancer, women with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer represent a poor prognostic group with high, unmet clinical needs.
Pembrolizumab is an immunomodulatory medicinal product, meaning that it helps the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. It is administered by intravenous infusion and is currently licensed in the UK for melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and urothelial cancer – amongst others. If licensed, pembrolizumab, in addition to chemotherapy, would offer an alternative treatment for those with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.