Keytruda Active in Merkel Cell Cancer – Durable responses in half of patients with advanced disease

April 20, 2016


MedPage Today

Publication Date

April 20, 2016


Charles Bankhead


NEW ORLEANS — More than half of patients with advanced Merkel cell carcinoma had durable responses to treatment with the immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda), according to results of a small clinical trial.

Objective responses occurred in 14 of 26 patients with previously untreated disease. One additional patient had an unconfirmed response, and one patient had stable disease. Responses were durable in most cases, indicated by the fact that 12 of 14 responses were ongoing after a median follow-up of 7.6 months.

The 26 patients had a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 9 months, about three times longer than historical medians with conventional therapy, as reported here at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting and published simultaneously online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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