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In a class first, Merck’s Keytruda extends survival in cervical cancer

June 23, 2021

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) was given an accelerated approval in 2018 as a second-line therapy for PD-L1-positive cervical cancer, but the new survival data – from the phase 3 KEYNOTE-826 trial – could extend the use of the drug.

KEYNOTE-826 enrolled 600 patients with both PD-L1-positive and PD-L1-negative tumours who were treated with a regimen of Keytruda and chemotherapy, given either with or without Roche’s Avastin (bevacizumab).

The Keytruda combination improved both overall survival and progression-free survival – the time it took for patients’ cancer to progress – which according to Merck is a first for any immuno-oncology drug. The company hasn’t disclosed the data yet, but says it will do so at a future medical meeting.

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