Information for the public

Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) is available on the NHS as a possible treatment for tumours that have DNA changes called high microsatellite instability or mismatch repair deficiency, in adults with:

  • advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer (cancer that starts in the lining of the womb) that has got worse during or after a treatment containing platinum, who cannot have surgery to cure the cancer or radiotherapy
  • unresectable (cannot be removed with surgery) or metastatic gastric (stomach), small intestine or biliary (bile duct) cancer that has got worse during or after 1 treatment
  • colorectal (bowel) cancer, after treatment containing fluoropyrimidine, if they cannot have nivolumab with ipilimumab.

Pembrolizumab should be stopped after 2 years, or earlier if the cancer gets worse.

If you are not eligible for pembrolizumab but are already having it, you should be able to continue until you and your doctor decide when best to stop.

Is this treatment right for me?

Your healthcare professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns. Your family can be involved too, if you wish. See our webpage on making decisions about your care.

Questions to think about

  • How well does it work compared with other treatments?
  • What are the risks or side effects? How likely are they?
  • How will the treatment affect my day-to-day life?
  • What happens if the treatment does not work?
  • What happens if I do not want to have treatment? Are there other treatments available?

Information and support

The NHS webpages on womb cancer, stomach cancer, bile duct cancer and bowel cancer may be a good place to find out more.

These organisations can give you advice and support:

You can also get support from your local Healthwatch.

NICE is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any information or advice provided by these organisations.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-5380-6

This page was last updated: