Perspective: Patterns and profile of patient experiences with pembrolizumab over time


Immunotherapies have shown promising results in advanced stage melanoma patients. The aim of these drugs is to improve length and quality of life. However, improvements in length of life are variable. Additionally, the impact of the drug on quality of life can be harmful by adding treatment-related side effects such as fatigue or beneficial by reducing or delaying cancer-related symptoms or disease recurrence or spread. Therefore, as a result of these drugs the management of advanced melanoma has become extremely complex.

With the introduction of new immunotherapy drugs such as pembrolizumab, little is known about the side effects or inconveniences of the drug that patients experience. These may negatively  effect an individual’s quality of life; consequently, knowledge of these factors could greatly assist clinician-patient discussions regarding goals of care and treatment options.


The aim of this study is to better understand the physical and psychological impact of receiving pembrolizumab from two groups of patients with advanced stage melanoma:

  • Group 1, patients currently on treatment; and
  • Group 2, patients scheduled to commence treatment.

This understanding will inform clinician-patient discussions about goals of care and treatment options. It will also facilitate the development of resources and educational materials for patients and health professionals that address identified issues and unmet needs.


Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre




Dr Donna Milne

Email: [email protected]


Ms Alex Billett


Email: [email protected]