On June 17, 2019 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for second or third-line treatment of patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

Pembrolizumab is now the third immunotherapy drug available for this particularly aggressive type of lung cancer. This treatment indication expands upon the options for metastatic SCLC patients who are currently or have previously underwent chemotherapy and at least one other therapy but has continued to experience lung cancer disease progression.

This approval stems from the multi-cohort clinical trials of SCLC patients participating in either the KEYNOTE-028 or KEYNOTE-158 trials. The trial data show 94% of metastatic SCLC patients were responsive to treatment in the first six months. Serious adverse reactions such as pneumonia were observed in <2% of patients. Read more here