Merck’s Lung Cancer Drug Shows Survival Benefit in Study
A Merck study found PD-1 inhibitor Keytruda prolonged life for advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients when compared with standard chemotherapy docetaxel, adding to the case for the medication in an increasingly competitive market.
The company said last week its phase 2/3 trial met primary survival endpoints in patients with PD-1 positive tumors who experienced disease progression after platinum-based chemotherapy. The global study, which began in July 2013, followed 1,034 patients.
Keytruda (pembrolizumab) was approved earlier this month as the first PD-1 inhibitor indicated to treat advanced NSCLC.
Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo was approved a week after Keytruda for the same disease spectrum, adding on an indication for the non-squamous cell form. That drug will likely consume a larger market portion because of its ability to treat patients regardless of PD-1 expression.