CKD + KEYTRUDA: Keytruda is a significant... - Early CKD Support

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RickHow profile image

Keytruda is a significant cancer treatment drug for various types of cancer. It is given in IV form. It was in April approved as a treatment for kidney cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. There are warnings with the drug that it might affect kidney function. However it is not specific if viable for someone with CKD. I have searched the web but find no definitive answer on a simple question "if you have CKD is it safe to be treated with Keytruda". If anyone knows, please post a response.

12 Replies


Ask your Oncologist to start and check in with your nephrologist as to ensure that they are on the same page.

I would also ask for the statistics on its success as well as " possible" side effects. Bear in mind each person is different and responds differently to medications.

Ketruda and Octivo work with the bodies immune system to fight the disease.

I know as my mother was given Octivo by for stage 4 lung cancer. This was also administered in IV form.

In her case, Dana Farber split the dose to every other week and had her hydrated with extra saline on the opposite week which caused less side effects.

It did shrink the lung tumor, but she had appetite issues, edema.

So I would research and ask a lot of good questions.

Every cancer is different and person responds differently.

Please let me know what the outcome is. One day at a time and fight! Positive Attitude!

My warmest healing thoughts, prayers and support are with you!

Bet 🙏

RickHow profile image
RickHow in reply to Bet117

Thanks for being concerned and giving me info. I have appointments next week with oncologist and kidney doctor. Of course will discuss. I was trying to gather info prior to the appointments so I can have my opinion in order. And I totally agree that the most important consideration is if the temporary shrinkage of a tumor is worth what may be the "side effects".

Bet117 profile image
Bet117 in reply to RickHow

No thanks needed, Rick,

I wish that I could offer you more information, but my best is my support.

I am delighted by the news that your renal function has improved as you will be starting treatment with that in your corner and be facing it stronger.

I am sure you know to see the dietician as well; nutrition and keeping your weight up is key during this process.

Body does amazing things.

Standing by your side with good feelings about all of this.

One day at a time!

Please keep in touch.


Hi RickHow and thank you for your post I have had a look on the NICE Guidelines [National Institute For Health and Care Excellence NICE] but could not find the answer to your question. I found some general information about Keytruda on the following website----

Pembrolizumab [Keytruda]/cancer in general/cancer Research uk


As Bet117 has posted, please ask your oncologist and nephrologist for advice regarding this.

Are any other forum members able to help RickHow with this question, please?

Thank you and best wishes.

RickHow profile image
RickHow in reply to MAS_Nurse

Oh I so appreciate your efforts. I will be discussing this subject with my oncologist on next Thursday and kidney doctor on Friday. I was trying to gather information prior so I can talk intelligently. While I totally trust my doctors, I like to have some personal knowledge so I can follow, or not, their advice. Again, thanks for caring.

I don’t have any information to help you. Just wanted to say hope you’re doing well. Continued prayers 😀

RickHow profile image
RickHow in reply to Bunkin

Oh thanks so much Bunkin. Considering, I think I am doing pretty well. Actually I just had a blood renal panel done. My "numbers" were the best they have been in the past 2 years. I jumped up from being stage 3b, to only one or two points from being classified stage 2!!! It can not be explained. In fact it should not be. I no longer follow the kidney "diet". I am getting little if any exercise. If anything I should be worse. But I am significantly better (kidney). I can't wait to hear from the kidney doctor why this is so.

Bunkin profile image
Bunkin in reply to RickHow

That is awesome! God has answered our prayers 😀

jeff_RT profile image
jeff_RT in reply to RickHow

Awesome news indeed! :D

Hi Rick,

As others have said, you should check with you doctors and make sure they are aware of your CKD. I found some articles. I let you interpret what they say.

I am just thinking of you and hoping your appointments yesterday and today provided you with some answers.

How nice of you to write. I was scheduled to try the keytruda. I have been taking a medicine (in the form of a shot montly) that strengthens bones. It is called Xgeva. But I was developing side effects. Peeling skin, muscle pain in thighs and groin. So the oncologist decided to stop the Xgeva, wait 2 weeks for it to clear my system. THEN in 2 weeks try the keytruda. This will also allow her time to investigate if it is advisable to take this medicine if you have CKD. So still waiting :). Thanks

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