FDA approves expanded use of Merck’s Keytruda for use in cervical cancer


FDA approves expanded use of Merck’s Keytruda for use in cervical cancer

Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, in combination with chemoradiotherapy (CRT) for the treatment of patients with FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) 2014 Stage III-IVA cervical cancer. The approval is based on data from the Phase 3 KEYNOTE-A18 trial, in which KEYTRUDA plus CRT demonstrated an improvement in progression-free survival (PFS), reducing the risk of disease progression or death by 41% (HR=0.59 [95% CI, 0.43-0.82]) compared to placebo plus CRT in patients with FIGO 2014 Stage III-IVA disease. Median PFS was not reached in either group. This approval marks the third indication for KEYTRUDA in cervical cancer and the 39th indication for KEYTRUDA in the U.S.

“Today’s approval of KEYTRUDA plus chemoradiotherapy is welcome news and gives patients with newly diagnosed FIGO 2014 Stage III-IVA cervical cancer, for the first time ever, the option of an anti-PD-1-based regimen to treat their cancer,” said Dr. Bradley Monk, oncologist and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University of Arizona’s College of Medicine and Creighton University School of Medicine. “This KEYTRUDA-based regimen offers a new treatment option for these patients, so today’s approval has important implications for the way we treat them moving forward.”

Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue and can affect more than one body system simultaneously. Immune-mediated adverse reactions can occur at any time during or after treatment with KEYTRUDA, including pneumonitis, colitis, hepatitis, endocrinopathies, nephritis, dermatologic reactions, solid organ transplant rejection, and complications of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Important immune-mediated adverse reactions listed here may not include all possible severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions. Early identification and management of immune-mediated adverse reactions are essential to ensure safe use of KEYTRUDA. Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, KEYTRUDA should be withheld or permanently discontinued and corticosteroids administered if appropriate. KEYTRUDA can also cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions. Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. For more information, see “Selected Important Safety Information” below.

“Building on the established role of KEYTRUDA in advanced cervical cancer, KEYTRUDA plus chemoradiotherapy is now the first anti-PD-1-based regimen approved in the U.S. for the treatment of patients with FIGO 2014 Stage III-IVA cervical cancer regardless of PD-L1 expression,” said Dr. Gursel Aktan, vice president, global clinical development, Merck Research Laboratories. “This approval provides newly diagnosed patients with an anti-PD-1-based treatment option that has the potential to reduce the risk of disease progression or death compared to chemoradiotherapy alone.”

In the U.S., KEYTRUDA has two additional approved indications in cervical cancer: in combination with chemotherapy, with or without bevacizumab, for the treatment of patients with persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer whose tumors express PD-L1 (Combined Positive Score [CPS] ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test; and as a single agent for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer with disease progression on or after chemotherapy whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

Read the full media release, FDA Approves Merck’s KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Plus Chemoradiotherapy as Treatment for Patients With FIGO 2014 Stage III-IVA Cervical Cancer