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Longest follow up trial of Merck's Keytruda sets new standard for five year survival in lung cancer

Published on 03/06/19 at 11:03am

Nearly a quarter of previously untreated lung cancer patients who took Keytruda (Pembrolizumab) were alive after five years, according to the results of the longest follow-up trial for Merck’s cancer immunotherapy.

In total, 23.2% of treatment naïve patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were alive after five years.

The data from the phase 3 KEYNOTE trial of 616 patients showed that 23.2% of previously untreated and 15.5% of previously treated patients lived for more than five years after receiving MSD’s immunotherapy.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and historically, the five-year survival rate has been around 5% for patients in the U.S. with advanced non-small cell lung cancer,” said Edward B. Garon, MD, MS, associate professor of medicine, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles.

“As a treating physician, it is encouraging to see the results of KEYNOTE-001, in which pembrolizumab showed a five-year overall survival rate of 23.2% in treatment-naïve patients and 15.5% in previously treated patients.”

Among 60 patients who received two or more years of treatment with Keytruda, the five year overall survival rate was 78.6% in treatment naïve patients and 75.8% in previously treated patients.

“Five-year survival is a significant milestone for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, and it is encouraging to see the long-term overall survival rates from our first KEYNOTE study,” said Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories.

“These five-year data provide important insights into the long-term safety and efficacy of KEYTRUDA in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.”

Louis Goss

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