Rita Nanda, MD, assistant professor of medicine and associate director of the Breast Medical Oncology Program at the University of Chicago, discusses the potential of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). A recent small-scale trial showed treatment response for 18.5% of patients with PD-L1 positive TNBC.
The drug was well tolerated, and while 56% experienced some side effects, the vast majority of these side effects were very mild, easily managed, and did not result in treatment discontinuation, says Nanda.
A total of 32 women enrolled in the trial and 27 had evaluable disease. Of those 27 patients, five responded to the treatment, including one complete response and four partial responses.
The patients in the study were very heavily pretreated. Over half of them had three or more lines of chemotherapy prior to entering the study.
While this is a small, preliminary study, Nanda says the results are exciting and suggest a promising option for a subset of women with TNBC. Moving forward, research should focus on identifying the patients who will best respond to this therapy.
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