Pembrolizumab Combination Improves Progression-Free Survival in Metastatic Lung Cancer


Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) combination therapy may improve outcomes for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

Merck recently announced positive findings from the phase 3 KEYNOTE-189 clinical trial, which evaluated pembrolizumab (Keytruda) plus pemetrexed (Alimta) and cisplatin or carboplatin in metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a press release.

The study showed that the investigational first-line therapy met the dual primary endpoints of overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS).

Included in the KEYNOTE-189 trial were 614 patients with advanced or metastatic non-squamous NSCLC who had no EGFR or ALK mutations and who had not been previously treated.

Patients were randomized 2:1 to receive pembrolizumab plus pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy or pemetrexed plus platinum chemotherapy.

An interim analysis revealed that pembrolizumab plus pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy significantly increased OS and PFS compared with pemetrexed plus platinum chemotherapy, according to the release.

Merck reported that the safety profile of pembrolizumab was consistent with its known profile.

Currently, pembrolizumab is approved to treat melanoma, NSCLC, head and neck cancer, classical Hodgkin lymphoma, urothelial carcinoma, microsatellite instability-high cancer, and gastric cancer.

“KEYNOTE-189 showed significant improvement in overall survival and progression-free survival for patients receiving Keytruda in the first-line setting in combination with traditional chemotherapy, compared with those receiving chemotherapy alone,” said Roger M. Perlmutter, MD, president, Merck Research Laboratories. “We are deeply grateful to the KEYNOTE-189 patients and investigators for their important contributions to this landmark study, and we look forward to presenting the data in the near future.”

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