Yesterday is was announced that the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) 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 Scotland.

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.

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

Read more on the SMC website here