Pembrolizumab Moving Forward in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

In the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer, checkpoint inhibition is making inroads in both early- and late-stage disease, and the line of treatment and expression of the programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) could be important in determining outcomes, according to studies reported at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting. 

In locally advanced breast cancer, the addition of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) to standard neoadjuvant therapy increased the rate of pathologic complete response approximately threefold in the I-SPY 2 trial, reported Rita Nanda, MD, of the University of Chicago.1 Overall, based on the Bayesian predictive probability of success in a confirmatory phase III trial, “Pembrolizumab ‘graduated’ in all HER2-negative signatures,” she revealed. 

In metastatic breast cancer, single-agent activity of pembrolizumab was observed but was higher in certain subsets, according to the results of the KEYNOTE-086 trial presented at the ASCO Meeting by Sylvia Adams, MD, of New York University School of Medicine.2 



1. Nanda R, Liu MC, Yau C, et al: Pembrolizumab plus standard neoadjuvant therapy for high-risk breast cancer: Results from I-SPY 2. 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting. Abstract 506. Presented June 5, 2017. 

2. Adams S, Schmid P, Rugo HS, et al: Phase 2 study of pembrolizumab monotherapy for previously treated metastatic triple-negative breast cancer: KEYNOTE-086 cohort A. 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting. Abstract 1008. Presented June 3, 2017. 

3. Adams S, Loi S, Toppmeyer D, et al: Phase 2 study of pembrolizumab as first-line therapy for PD-L1–positive metastatic triple-negative breast cancer: Preliminary data from KEYNOTE-086 cohort B. 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting. Abstract 1088. Presented June 4, 2017.

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