02 October 2022
Volume 4 · Issue 10

Following the publication of final draught National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on 23 September 2022, approximately 1500 people aged 12 years and older with melanoma are set to benefit from pembrolizumab (also known as Keytruda and manufactured by MSD), a drug that reduces the likelihood of it returning.

The most common type of skin cancer is melanoma. It develops from melanocytes (cells in the epidermis of the skin), and pembrolizumab is an immunotherapy treatment that aids the body's immune system in fighting cancer cells.

Following surgery to remove the tumours, NICE recommends pembrolizumab as the first treatment for this stage of melanoma (2B and 2C) (called an adjuvant treatment). Deeply penetrating tumours that have not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body are considered stage 2 melanoma.

An adjuvant treatment works to remove any microscopic disease that remains after surgery, lowering the risk of relapse or cancer spreading to other parts of the body. Routine follow-up to monitor for signs of recurrence, rather than any form of tumour prevention, is now the standard of care.

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