Approval based on results from the Phase 3 KEYNOTE-859 trial, which demonstrated significant improvement in overall survival in these patients versus chemotherapy alone
Merck announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, in combination with fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy, for the first-line treatment of adults with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma.
The approval is based on data from the Phase 3 KEYNOTE-859 trial, in which KEYTRUDA plus chemotherapy reduced the risk of death by 22% (HR=0.78 [95% CI, 0.70‑0.87]; p<0.0001) compared to chemotherapy alone for these patients. Median overall survival (OS) was 12.9 months (95% CI, 11.9-14.0) for KEYTRUDA plus chemotherapy versus 11.5 months (95% CI, 10.6-12.1) for chemotherapy alone.
“The majority of patients with gastric cancer are diagnosed at an advanced stage, at which point they face a poor prognosis with a five-year survival rate of 6%,” said Dr. Zev A. Wainberg, professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and co-director of the UCLA GI Oncology Program. “This approval of pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy offers patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2-negative gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer a new immunotherapy regimen that has demonstrated the potential to help these patients live longer.”
“At Merck, we have a comprehensive development program across a broad range of gastrointestinal cancers with the goal of providing meaningful new options to patients and their healthcare providers,” said Dr. Marjorie Green, senior vice president and head of late-stage oncology, global clinical development, Merck Research Laboratories. “This latest approval of a KEYTRUDA-based treatment option is an important milestone for patients with advanced HER2-negative gastric or GEJ adenocarcinoma and reinforces Merck’s commitment to addressing the needs of these patients in the U.S.”
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