Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for unresectable or metastatic colon cancer

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Regimen in use at

Variant #1

Study Evidence
Le et al. (KEYNOTE-164) Phase II

This variant of the regimen is being listed despite lack of a published trial and results because this is the FDA-approved, recommended pembrolizumab dose and schedule in the package insert.


21-day cycles

Variant #2

Study Evidence
Le et al. 2015 Phase II

Note: this study only demonstrated a clear benefit for mismatch repair-deficient colorectal cancers. Please be aware that the FDA-approved, recommended pembrolizumab dose in the package insert is 200 mg for adults, 2 mg/kg (maximum dose 200 mg) for children, given every 3 weeks.


14-day cycles


  1. J1365: Le DT, Uram JN, Wang H, Bartlett BR, Kemberling H, Eyring AD, Skora AD, Luber BS, Azad NS, Laheru D, Biedrzycki B, Donehower RC, Zaheer A, Fisher GA, Crocenzi TS, Lee JJ, Duffy SM, Goldberg RM, de la Chapelle A, Koshiji M, Bhaijee F, Huebner T, Hruban RH, Wood LD, Cuka N, Pardoll DM, Papadopoulos N, Kinzler KW, Zhou S, Cornish TC, Taube JM, Anders RA, Eshleman JR, Vogelstein B, Diaz LA Jr. PD-1 blockade in tumors with mismatch-repair deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2015 Jun 25;372(26):2509-20. Epub 2015 May 30. link to original article contains protocol link to PMC article PubMed
    1. Update: Le DT, Durham JN, Smith KN, Wang H, Bartlett BR, Aulakh LK, Lu S, Kemberling H, Wilt C, Luber BS, Wong F, Azad NS, Rucki AA, Laheru D, Donehower R, Zaheer A, Fisher GA, Crocenzi TS, Lee JJ, Greten TF, Duffy AG, Ciombor KK, Eyring AD, Lam BH, Joe A, Kang SP, Holdhoff M, Danilova L, Cope L, Meyer C, Zhou S, Goldberg RM, Armstrong DK, Bever KM, Fader AN, Taube J, Housseau F, Spetzler D, Xiao N, Pardoll DM, Papadopoulos N, Kinzler KW, Eshleman JR, Vogelstein B, Anders RA, Diaz LA Jr. Mismatch repair deficiency predicts response of solid tumors to PD-1 blockade. Science. 2017 Jul 28;357(6349):409-413. Epub 2017 Jun 8. link to original article link to PMC article contains verified protocol in supplement PubMed
  2. Abstract: Dung T. Le, Takayuki Yoshino, Dirk Jäger, Thierry Andre, Johanna C. Bendell, Ruixue Wang... SoonMo Peter Kang, Minori Koshiji, Luis A. Diaz. KEYNOTE-164: Phase II study of pembrolizumab (MK-3475) for patients with previously treated, microsatellite instability-high advanced colorectal carcinoma. J Clin Oncol abstract TPS787 and abstract TPS3631; NCT02460198 at