10 October 2022

Responding, Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“Today’s approval of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in combination with chemotherapy (paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel) for use on the NHS in Scotland, is absolutely fantastic news for certain patients with incurable secondary triple negative breast cancer.1

“This decision brings hope to eligible women for whom it could offer additional time before their disease progresses and give them more months to live compared to chemotherapy, enabling them to spend precious time with loved ones and doing what matters most to them.

“Triple negative breast cancer is a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, often with poorer outcomes, and whilst another immunotherapy treatment - atezolizumab - was made available on the NHS in Scotland in 2020, the needs of patients who could not receive this combination2, remained unmet.

“Today’s approval of pembrolizumab sees it being made available to those who desperately need new, effective treatment options.

“We encourage women to discuss their breast cancer treatment options with their healthcare team. They can also speak to our expert nurses by calling our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000.”


1 For treating certain patients with locally recurrent unresectable or secondary triple negative breast cancer whose tumours express PD-L1 with a combined positive score of 10 or more and who have not had prior chemotherapy for their secondary breast cancer.

2 Atezolizumab and pembrolizumab use different methods to measure PD-L1 expression. This means that some people who can’t have the atezolizumab combination could now be eligible for the pembrolizumab combination.