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FDA Approves Keytruda/Lenvima combination treatment for certain types of endometrial carcinoma

Keytruda/lenvima combination treatment has been approved for certain patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma which isn’t Microsatellite Instability-High (MSI-H) or Mismatch Repair Deficient (dMMR), who have disease progression after systemic Therapy and Are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation, thus becoming the first to get simultaneous review decisions in the U.S., Australia and Canada, under new FDA-Initiated Program.

KENILWORTH, N.J., & WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–$MRK #MRK–Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Eisai today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the combination of Keytruda, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, plus Lenvima, the orally available kinase inhibitor discovered by Eisai, for the treatment of patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR), who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation. This marks the first U.S. approval for the combination of Keytruda plus Lenvima and the first time an anti-PD-1 therapy is approved in combination with a kinase inhibitor for advanced endometrial carcinoma in the U.S. Following submission on June 17, this is an accelerated approval reviewed under the FDA’s Real-Time Oncology Review (RTOR) pilot program, which aims to improve the efficiency of the review process for applications to ensure that treatments are available to patients as early as possible. This approval is based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trial. According to the FDA, this review was conducted under Project Orbis, an initiative of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence. Project Orbis provides a framework for concurrent submission and review of oncology drugs among its international partners. Under this project, the FDA, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Health Canada collaboratively reviewed applications for two oncology drugs, allowing for simultaneous decisions in all three countries.


When diagnosed early, endometrial carcinoma can have a good prognosis; however, for women whose cancer has progressed following prior systemic therapy, there are few FDA-approved treatment options,” said Dr. Vicky Makker, medical oncologist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Based on objective response rate and the duration of response, this approval of the Keytruda plus Lenvima combination will help address a significant unmet medical need for patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not MSI-H or dMMR, who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation.”

Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur with Keytruda, including pneumonitis, colitis, hepatitis, endocrinopathies, nephritis and renal dysfunction, severe skin reactions, solid organ transplant rejection, and complications of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, Keytruda should be withheld or discontinued and corticosteroids administered if appropriate. Keytruda can also cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions. Based on its mechanism of action, Keytruda can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. For more information, see “Selected Important Safety Information” below.

Adverse reactions, some of which can be serious or fatal, may occur with Lenvima, including hypertension, cardiac dysfunction, arterial thromboembolic events, hepatotoxicity, renal failure or impairment, proteinuria, diarrhea, fistula formation and gastrointestinal perforation, QT interval prolongation, hypocalcemia, reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome, hemorrhagic events, impairment of thyroid stimulating hormone suppression/thyroid dysfunction, and wound healing complications. Based on the type and/or severity of the adverse reaction, Lenvima may be interrupted, reduced and/or discontinued. Based on its mechanism of action and data from animal reproduction studies, Lenvima can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Females of reproductive potential should be advised to use effective contraception.

Today’s approval of the Keytruda plus Lenvima combination for advanced endometrial carcinoma that has progressed following prior systemic therapy brings the first approved combination treatment to women with this type of cancer whose tumors are not MSI-H or dMMR and who are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation, and demonstrates the potential of our collaboration with Eisai,” said Dr. Jonathan Cheng, Vice President, Oncology Clinical Research, Merck Research Laboratories. Merck is committed to developing this combination through the LEAP (LEnvatinib And Pembrolizumab) clinical program, which is under active investigation.”

At least 75% of endometrial cancer cases are not microsatellite instability-high or mismatch repair deficient, and these women have been in need of new treatment options,” said Dr. Takashi Owa, Vice President, Chief Medicine Creation and Chief Discovery Officer, Oncology Business Group at Eisai. We are excited for the advancement that today’s approval of the Keytruda plus Lenvima combination treatment represents for these women whose advanced endometrial carcinoma is not microsatellite instability-high or mismatch repair deficient, has progressed following prior systemic therapy and who are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation, and we look forward to the possibilities that our collaboration holds.”

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