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MSD touts Keytruda first-line promise in NSCLC

Says patients on the drug more than doubled median OS compared to chemo

Keytruda

Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) is continuing its drive to position Keytruda (pembrolizumab) as a first-line treatment in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The firm has just released new, two-year follow up results from the Keynote-024 trial, which compared the anti PD-1/PD-L1 treatment to chemotherapy, showing a 37% reduction in risk of death for those on Keytruda.

The drug received a fast-track approval for the first-line treatment of NSCLC from the US FDA, but has since been knocked-back by the UK’s cost-effectiveness watchdog NICE.

Dr Roger Dansey, senior vice president and therapeutic area head, oncology late-stage development, Merck Research Laboratories, said: “With these findings from KEYNOTE-024, we continue to demonstrate the potential for Keytruda to have a positive impact on survival outcomes in non-small cell lung cancer.”

Additionally, patients on the drug also saw a massive increase in overall survival (OS) rates by more than one year (30 months), which is more than double the overall survival rate for chemotherapy (14.2 months).

Professor Martin Reck, head of the department of thoracic oncology, LungenClinic, said: “The significant overall survival findings observed in KEYNOTE-024, which includes patients who have a poor prognosis, reinforce the use of KEYTRUDA in appropriate patients in the first-line treatment of this disease.”

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer accounting for about 85% of all cases and the five year survival rate for patients with highly advanced, metastatic lung cancers is estimated to be just 2%.

Dansey added: “The focus of our clinical programme has always been to improve survival for people with cancer.”

To date, Keytruda has been approved in seven indications including melanoma, blood cancer, and bladder cancer.

Article by
Gemma Jones

19th October 2017

From: Research

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