publication date: May. 12, 2017

Drugs and Targets

Keytruda-Alimta-carboplatin combination gets FDA approval

FDA has approved Keytruda (pembrolizumab), an anti-PD-1 therapy, in combination with pemetrexed (brand name Alimta) and carboplatin (pem/carbo), a commonly used chemotherapy regimen, for the first-line treatment of metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC, irrespective of PD-L1 expression.

Under the FDA’s accelerated approval regulations, this indication is approved based on tumor response rate and progression-free survival. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials. Ketruda is sponsored by Merck. Alimta is sponsored by Eli Lilly & Co.

The approval was based on data from KEYNOTE-021, Cohort G1, in 123 previously untreated patients with metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations and irrespective of PD-L1 expression. In this trial, Keytruda + pem/carbo demonstrated an objective response rate that was nearly double the ORR of pem/carbo alone (55 percent [95% CI: 42, 68] compared to 29 percent [95% CI: 18, 41], respectively; all responses were partial responses). Among patients who received Keytruda + pem/carbo, 93 percent had a duration of response of six months or more (range 1.4+ to 13.0+ months) compared to 81 percent who received pem/carbo alone (range 1.4+ to 15.2+ months).

In addition, findings demonstrated an improvement in PFS (HR 0.53 [95% CI, 0.31-0.91; p=0.0205]), with a median PFS of 13.0 months (95% CI, 8.3-not estimable) for patients treated with Keytruda + pem/carbo compared to 8.9 months (95% CI, 4.4-10.3) with pem/carbo alone.

Immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred with Keytruda including pneumonitis, colitis, hepatitis, endocrinopathies, and nephritis. Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, Keytruda should be withheld or discontinued and corticosteroids administered when appropriate. Keytruda can also cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms … Continue reading Keytruda-Alimta-carboplatin combination gets FDA approval

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