Merck’s Keytruda fails to meet one main goal in gastric cancer trial

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Merck

Merck’s Keytruda fails to meet one main goal in gastric cancer trial

June 20 (Reuters) – Merck & Co. (MRK.N) said on Tuesday its blockbuster immunotherapy Keytruda failed to meet one of the two main goals in a late-stage study testing it as a treatment option for a type of advanced gastric cancer.

The drug in combination with chemotherapy significantly reduced signs of cancer compared to chemotherapy alone, the company said.

However, the combination failed to achieve statistical significance in the second main goal of extending the time a patient remains free of certain complications or events that the treatment was intended to prevent or delay.

Keytruda, which is approved in the U.S. for treating several types of cancers, was being tested to treat locally advanced gastric and gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma that can be removed through surgery.

Gastric cancer, which begins in the stomach, is the fifth most diagnosed form of the disease and the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, Merck said.

Reporting by Mariam Sunny in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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