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Merck’s Melanoma Drug Shows Overall Survival Rate of 69%

Published: Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 04, 2014
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Pembrolizumab as monotherapy shows estimated overall survival rate at one year across 411 advanced melanoma patients with varying stages of disease and prior therapy.

Merck announced new data from the company’s large ongoing Phase 1b study evaluating pembrolizumab (MK-3475), Merck’s investigational anti-PD-1 antibody, as a single agent (monotherapy) in 411 patients with advanced melanoma. 

Following treatment with pembrolizumab, the estimated overall survival (OS) rate at one year was 69 percent across all patients studied, including 74 percent in patients without prior ipilimumab therapy (current standard therapy) and 65 percent in patients who had progressive disease on or following ipilimumab. At 18 months, the estimated OS was 62 percent. The median OS has not been reached, with some patients receiving treatment with pembrolizumab as monotherapy for more than two years.

These new data was presented in an oral session by Dr. Antoni Ribas, professor, Hematology/Oncology and Surgery, and director of the Tumor Immunology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO 2014) in Chicago.

“The data presented today provide further evidence of durable anti-tumor activity stimulated by pembrolizumab as a single agent in patients suffering from malignant melanoma,” said Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories. “While we await further confirmation through controlled clinical trials, the survival rates seen with pembrolizumab therapy, including in patients with advanced disease who have failed other therapies, support the use of immune manipulation in cancer care.”


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