Is Keytruda (Pembrolizumab) Available in Pakistan?

Keytruda is the brand name of Pembrolizumab. It is a highly specific targeted monoclonal antibody drug that targets T-lymphocytes positive for PD-L1 receptors.

PD receptors are "Programmed Death" receptors. Ligands bind to these PD receptors and activate them. Keytruda inhibits the activation of PD-positive T-cells and hence it is a PD-L1 inhibitor.

The inhibition of PD-L1 and its subsequent activation stops immune dysregulation and signal activation. Thus, Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) suppresses the T-cells induced immune dysregulation and tumor response in PD-L1 positive cancer cells.

Keytruda is widely used in the treatment of various cancers especially those that are not responsive to first-line, second-line, or even third-line chemotherapeutic drugs. It may provide a clinically meaningful response in patients who are struggling for their lives.

Here is a list of the cancers where Keytruda use may be effective:

Keytruda (Pembrolizumab) Use in Various Cancers

Cervical Cancer

PD-L1 Positive Metastatic or recurrent Cervical Cancer

Esophageal Cancer

PD-L1 Positive recurrent, advanced, or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus

Gastric Cancer

PD-L1 Positive recurrent, advanced, or metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma

Cancer of the head and neck

As a 1st line treatment of:

  • metastatic or unresectable head and neck cancer (with fluorouracil and platinum)
  • PD-L1 positive metastatic or unresectable head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Advanced Liver Cancer

Treatment of HCC in patients who have previously received Sorafenib.

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Relapsed or refractory Classical Hodgkins lymphoma


Treatment of unresectable or lymphnode-positive melanoma

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Recurrent or locally advanced Merkel cell carcinoma

Microsatellite Instability High Cancer

Unresectable or Metastatic microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient solid tumors.

Colon Cancer

Treatment of Unresectable or Metastatic microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient colorectal cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer

Stage III NSCLC patients who can not undergo surgical resection

Patients with PD-L1 positive metastatic NSCLC without EGFR receptor positivity

Mediastinal Large B Cell lymphoma

Patients with refractory or relapsed PMBCL (primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma)

Renal cell Carcinoma

Advanced renal cell carcinoma with Axitinib

Small Cell Lung Cancer

Treatment of advanced or metastatic small cell lung cancer

Urothelial Cancer

In patients with advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who can not receive cisplatin-based chemotherapy and are PD-L1 positive.

Keytruda in Pakistan:

Keytruda is only available as a generic drug. It is too costly and adds to the financial burden of people who are struggling for life. Since it is not a registered drug in Pakistan, it is not available in pharmacies.

The government needs to make these drugs available to relieve or ease the patients' miseries. Patients in Pakistan arrange it by importing it from neighboring countries.

Read all the details about Keytruda here: Keytruda FDA Prescribing Information