1. Sep 22, 2020

Pembrolizumab improves overall survival in esophageal cancer

Pembrolizumab (Keytruda; Merck) in combination with chemotherapy significantly improved overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and objective response rates in patients with patients with locally advanced or metastatic esophageal and gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer, according to data from the Phase 3 KEYNOTE-590 trial presented at ESMO Virtual Congress 2020.

The combination of pembrolizumab and chemotherapy reduced the risk of death by 27% and the risk of disease progression or death by 35% in all randomized patients.

“Esophageal cancer is an aggressive disease that is associated with very poor survival, and there is an urgent need for advances for newly diagnosed, previously untreated patients,” said Dr Ken Kato, chief, department of Head and Neck Medical Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Japan, in a press release. “In KEYNOTE-590, with a 27% reduction in the risk of death, the results show KEYTRUDA has the potential to change the current treatment paradigm for the first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced and unresectable or metastatic esophageal or esophagogastric junction cancer. Results also showed a median overall survival of 12.4 months for KEYTRUDA versus 9.8 months for chemotherapy.”

Read the full press release here.