Pembrolizumab exhibits antitumor activity in advanced cervical cancer


The prognosis of advanced cervical cancer is poor with a 5-year survival in 17% of the patients. The treatment of advanced cervical cancer is confined to chemotherapy, radiation therapy and limited number of targeted therapies, therefore additional treatment options are necessary. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have been approved for various cancer types. Researchers conducted the KEYNOTE-028 trial recruiting 20 different cancer types to assess the clinical activity and safety of pembrolizumab. This trial enrolled 24 advanced-stage and heavily pretreated cervical cancer patients. The result showed that the overall response rate was 17% with four partial responders. All responders showed PD-L1 expression and two responders had sustained responses for over six months. The progress-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) was 2 months and 11 months, respectively. For the safety profile, most common side effects were rash and pyrexia, accounting for 21% and 17%, respectively. Four patients suffered from serious treatment-related side effects. These findings indicated that pembrolizumab exhibited antitumor activity and tolerable safety profile in PD-L1 positive advanced cervical cancer patients. Additionally, an ongoing phase II trial, KEYNOTE-0158, aims to confirm the clinical value of immunotherapy in advanced cervical cancer.



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