Merck, Eisai’s combination therapy fails in lung cancer studies


Merck, Eisai’s combination therapy fails in lung cancer studies

Sept 22 (Reuters) – Drugmakers Merck (MRK.N) and Eisai (4523.T) said on Friday a combination of their cancer therapies did not prolong the lives of patients in two late-stage studies testing it as a treatment for a type of lung cancer.

The pairing of Merck’s blockbuster immunotherapy Keytruda and Eisai’s Lenvima has previously failed in studies evaluating it in patients with types of head-and-neck cancer, skin cancer and colon cancer as well.

In both the lung cancer studies, LEAP-006 and LEAP-008, the combination did not improve overall survival in patients, which was one of the two main goals for both.

It was being evaluated against Keytruda and chemotherapy in one of the trials and against another chemotherapy medicine in the second.

The trial results announced on Friday will not impact other ongoing studies or current approvals for the combination. It is approved in the United States, Japan and European Union for the treatment of a type of kidney cancer and certain types of cancers in the lining of the uterus.

Merck’s Keytruda belongs to class of medicines called PD-1 inhibitors that work by increasing the ability of the body’s immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells.

Eisai’s Lenvima is a kinase inhibitor, which blocks certain proteins from helping cancer cells grow and divide.

The safety profile of the combination was consistent with that observed in previous studies, the companies said, and a full evaluation of the data from both the trials was ongoing.

Reporting by Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

Source: Reuters