Pembrolizumab & Pemetrexed maintenance therapy for advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer

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Regimen in use at


Study Evidence Comparator Efficacy
Langer et al. 2016 (KEYNOTE-021) Randomized Phase II Carboplatin & Pemetrexed +/- pemetrexed maintenance Superior ORR

Preceding treatment


  • Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) 200 mg IV over 30 minutes once on day 1, given first, at least 30 minutes prior to chemotherapy
  • Pemetrexed (Alimta) 500 mg/m2 IV over 10 minutes once on day 1, given last
    • This is optional, to be used "at the discretion of the investigator"

Supportive medications

21-day cycle for up to 2 years


  1. Langer CJ, Gadgeel SM, Borghaei H, Papadimitrakopoulou VA, Patnaik A, Powell SF, Gentzler RD, Martins RG, Stevenson JP, Jalal SI, Panwalkar A, Yang JC, Gubens M, Sequist LV, Awad MM, Fiore J, Ge Y, Raftopoulos H, Gandhi L; KEYNOTE-021 investigators. Carboplatin and pemetrexed with or without pembrolizumab for advanced, non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer: a randomised, phase 2 cohort of the open-label KEYNOTE-021 study. Lancet Oncol. 2016 Nov;17(11):1497-1508 link to original article contains verified protocol supplementary appendix; PubMed