The PBS listing of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) is being extended for the treatment of melanoma.
From 1 September pembrolizumab will be available through the PBS as adjuvant treatment for patients who have had completely surgically resected Stage IIIB, IIIC or IIID malignant melanoma.
The expanded listing is expected to widen access for about 2,000 eligible patients each year.
In addition, the PBS extension will allow for the use of pembrolizumab as a first line treatment of BRAF V600 positive stage III or IV unresectable or metastatic melanoma, or melanoma that has spread through the body and has a specific biomarker.
Sponsor MSD has also announced that oncologists can now prescribe pembrolizumab every six weeks through a simpler Streamlined Authority option, for eligible patients undergoing single agent treatment for advanced melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer.
Pembrolizumab will also be made available on the PBS for patients with a rare form of lymphoma – relapsed or refractory Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL).
PMBCL is considered an aggressive cancer occurring predominantly in young adults, with the majority being females with a median age of 35 years at the time of diagnosis.