NICE Recommends Keytruda for Certain Forms of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

November 9, 2022

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is recommending Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for National Health Service (NHS) use in combination with chemotherapy as neoadjuvant treatment — and alone as adjuvant treatment — after surgery for adult patients with triple-negative early breast cancer at high risk of recurrence or locally advanced breast cancer.

The agency said clinical trial evidence showed that adding Keytruda to chemotherapy before surgery and then continuing with pembrolizumab after surgery increased the chance that the cancer will disappear. The treatment also increased the time before cancer recurs, but it is not clear if Keytruda increases how long people live, NICE said.

In making its decision, the committee noted that there are few effective treatment options for people with triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of cancer that has an increased risk of recurrence and is often associated with younger people.

The agency said cost-effectiveness estimates are likely to be within what NICE considers an acceptable use of NHS resources. The negotiated price for NHS use was not disclosed.

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