Treatment with the immunotherapy Keytruda (pembrolizumab) appears to be as effective as conventional chemotherapy for treating malignant pleural mesothelioma patients who relapse after one course of platinum-based chemotherapy, data from a Phase 3 trial show.
Although more of these advanced cancer patients responded to Keytruda than to chemotherapy, notable differences in survival were not seen. More study is needed to determine cancer patients most likely to benefit from immunotherapies, its researchers said.
These findings were in the poster, “A multicentre randomized phase III trial comparing pembrolizumab (P) vs single agent chemotherapy (CT) for advanced pre-treated malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM): Results from the European Thoracic Oncology Platform (ETOP 9-15) PROMISE-meso trial,” presented at the recent European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2019 Congress in Barcelona.
Keytruda is an immune checkpoint inhibitor (developed by Merck; known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada) that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to treat several types of cancer.
It is a monoclonal antibody that targets and blocks the activity of the PD-1 receptor (a protein found on the surface of immune cells), which cancer cells use to avoid being targeted and killed by immune cells.
PROMISE-meso (NCT02991482) is a Phase 3 trial comparing the efficacy of Keytruda to standard chemotherapy in people with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma — a lethal form of cancer in the pleura, the protective lining around the lungs — who failed to respond to a previous course of platinum-based chemotherapy.
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