Late last week we learnt that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved pembrolizumab for the adjuvant treatment of people with increased risk of their kidney cancer returning after surgery (nephrectomy). This is the first adjuvant immunotherapy to be approved for use on the NHS in England and Wales.

Adjuvant therapy is medication that is given in addition to surgery to try to prevent the cancer from coming back. Adjuvant therapy can be used to kill any remaining microscopic cancer cells, or it can control the growth of any remaining cancer.

This recommendation is based on the results from the phase 3 KEYNOTE-564 trial where adjuvant pembrolizumab significantly reduced the risk of the cancer returning by about one third (32%) compared to placebo. This is the first positive phase 3 study of adjuvant immunotherapy used for the treatment of people with a moderate to high risk of their kidney cancer returning.

Rose Woodward, Founder of Action Kidney Cancer, said: “Action Kidney Cancer are delighted that NICE has approved pembrolizumab as an adjuvant therapy for people with kidney cancer at high risk of return following surgery. This is the first adjuvant immunotherapy to be available on the NHS in England and it meets a great unmet need for these patients. This reduces the stress and anxiety for these patients and their families.”

Read more in PMLive here

Read the summary for patients on the NICE website here