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Assessment of the Safety of Pembrolizumab in Patients With HIV and Advanced Cancer

CD4+ T-cells have programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) expressed on their surface. As patients with HIV now live long enough to develop primary malignancies, is the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab safe in patients with HIV and cancer? A 2019 study suggests the drug is safe, although a single patient with pretreatment Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) viremia developed polyclonal KSHV-associated B-cell lymphoproliferation and died. JAMA Oncology Editor Mary (Nora) Disis, MD, of the University of Washington in Seattle explains the significance of the findings to JAMA Medical News senior staff writer Jennifer Abbasi.

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