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Keytruda scores ground-breaking European approval in lung cancer subgroup

Published on 10/09/18 at 12:21pm

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) has chalked up yet another approval for MSD, this time in Europe in combination with permextred and platinum-based chemotherapy in the first-line treatment of metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults with no EGFR or ALK positive mutations, making it the only immunotherapy licensed for use with chemo in the condition within Europe.

The European Commission authorised the drug combo based on data derived from a trial examining its use in patients with no, low and high expression of the biomarker PD-L1, which showed that Keytruda  reduced the risk of death by 51% compared to pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy alone, while risk of disease progression or death was also reduced by 48%

“This decision is likely to bring a step change in the way we treat lung cancer. It opens up treatment with pembrolizumab to anyone with non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer – the most common type of lung cancer – that has spread to other parts of the body,” explained Gary Middleton, Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Birmingham. “Since the arrival of immunotherapies there has been tremendous progress in the treatment of lung cancer. We know that the earlier patients get the best treatment for them, the better their outcomes are likely to be. These innovative therapies have often been restricted to subsets of patients. The decision from the EC extends the use of pembrolizumab to a greater number of patients with non-squamous NSCLC which is incredibly exciting news for patients.”

Louise Houson, Managing Director at MSD UK & Ireland, added: “Lung cancer remains an area of great unmet need and it takes too many lives each year. We look forward to combining our inventive science with the work of healthcare professionals up and down the country so that, together, we can renew our efforts to reach the best possible outcomes for everyone affected by lung cancer.”

Matt Fellows

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