Investigational Immunotherapy Trials for Colon and Rectal Cancer

The Keynote colon and rectal cancer clinical trials are studying an investigational drug, pembrolizumab, to see if it is safe and if it helps slow down or stop the growth of colon or rectal cancer. Colon and rectal cancers (also known as colorectal cancer) begin as polyps, which are abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum. If not removed, these polyps may become cancerous. Stage IV or advanced colorectal cancer means that the cancer cells from the colon or rectum have spread to other parts of the body. 

Microsatellite instability (MSI) in colon and rectal cancer

In order to properly plan your treatment, your doctor may want to know if your cancer cells have microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H). In most people, proteins known as MMR (mismatch repair) correct errors in the DNA. However, in some people with colorectal cancers, the genes that form the MMR proteins are defective and this can make parts of the DNA unstable, which is known as a deficient MMR (dMMR) system. Tumors that have a dMMR system can develop microsatellite instability (MSI). 

Pembrolizumab is an investigational immunotherapy that may help the body’s immune system attack cancer cells. When a cancer cell binds to an immune cell, the immune cell can’t do its job. These trials want to see if pembrolizumab can block cancer cells from binding with immune cells to help allow the immune cells to work properly.

Participating in a clinical trial is an important decision. Anyone participating in a trial should know as much as possible about what is being studied, what risks are involved and what potential benefits may be gained before deciding to enroll. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, please talk to your doctor first.

You can also call our clinical trial information center at 1-888-577-8839 to learn more.

Clinical Trials: Important Information to Consider

There is a lot to consider when deciding whether to participate in a clinical study. Any clinical study includes risks, which the study doctor will review with you. Make sure you understand the risks before participating.