Anyone had to pause Keytruda (pembrolizumab) due to severe side effects?
I was diagnosed with TNBC stage 2 in Feb and have undergone neoadjuvent (chemo + immunotherapy) with 11 rounds taxol weekly and 3 rounds of cisplatin and keytruda. But since week 7 I’ve developed side effects to the immunotherapy. My heart rate elevated, I got breathe less, low grade fever of up to 100.5 daily and headaches. Then I developed anemia (RBC 8.2) requiring a blood transfusion, thyroditis with TSH falling as low as 0.01 and impacted liver function indicators with ASL as high as 115. Some of these symptoms were brought under control as I skipped the last round of keytruda and started low grade daily steroids regime. But now I’m discussing the next phase of treatment with on MO and I’m very concerned with continuing immunotherapy.
According to keynote 522 trial, keytruda +AC is the next phase of treatment for 3 months - but I am very worried about the long term impact of these immunotherapy side effects. Due to shrinkage of tumor (felt through physical exam) MO is considering skipping this next phase and proceeding with surgery + radiation. But from everything I’ve read seems like immunotherapy is the magic bullet for TNBC and I’m now very concerned about recurrence.
Did anyone else experience these side effects and discontinue immunotherapy? What was your experience with either continuing with constant medical intervention or skipping - please share?