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KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) plus LENVIMA® (lenvatinib) Combination Demonstrated Clinically Meaningful Tumor Response Rates in Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma

Analyses from KEYTRUDA Plus LENVIMA Trials to be Presented at 2020 ASCO Annual Meeting

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 new data from analyses of two trials evaluating KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, plus LENVIMA, an orally available multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor discovered by Eisai. In the KEYNOTE-524/Study 116 and KEYNOTE-146/Study 111 trials, the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination demonstrated clinically meaningful objective response rates (ORR) in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with no prior systemic therapy and in patients with metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) who progressed following immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy, respectively.

The tumor response rates demonstrated with KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA in these studies underscore the potential of this combination regimen in certain types of hepatocellular and renal cell carcinoma,” said Dr. Jonathan Cheng, Vice President, Oncology Clinical Research, Merck Research Laboratories. “KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA is an important pillar of our broad oncology research program, and we continue to advance the study of the combination across multiple types of cancers and stages of disease.”

As data from our combination trials continue to read out, our enthusiasm for and belief in the potential of KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA are strengthened by the growing body of evidence observed in multiple advanced cancers,” said Dr. Takashi Owa, Chief Medicine Creation and Chief Discovery Officer, Oncology Business Group at Eisai. “Our ongoing clinical study efforts on this combination exemplify our commitment to following the science and exploring possible solutions for patients affected by difficult-to-treat cancers.”

Results from KEYNOTE-524/Study 116 (Abstract #4519) are being presented in a poster discussion session, and results from KEYNOTE-146/Study 111 (Abstract #5008) are being presented in an oral abstract session of the Virtual Scientific Program of the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

KEYNOTE-524/Study 116 Trial Design and Data (Abstract #4519)

KEYNOTE-524/Study 116 (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03006926) is a Phase 1b, open-label, single-arm trial evaluating the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination in 100 patients with unresectable HCC with no prior systemic therapy. Patients were treated with KEYTRUDA 200 mg intravenously every three weeks in combination with LENVIMA 8 or 12 mg (based on baseline body weight ˂60 kilograms or ≥60 kilograms, respectively) orally once daily. The primary endpoints are ORR and duration of response (DOR) by modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (mRECIST) and RECIST v1.1 per independent imaging review (IIR). Secondary endpoints include progression-free survival (PFS), time to progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS). At data cutoff (Oct. 31, 2019) and a median duration of follow-up of 10.6 months (95% CI: 9.2-11.5), 37 patients were still on study treatment (KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA: n=34; LENVIMA only: n=3), and median duration of treatment exposure to the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination was 7.9 months (range: 0.2-31.1).

The final analysis of the study’s primary endpoints showed the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination demonstrated an ORR of 36% (n=36) (95% CI: 26.6-46.2), with a complete response rate of 1% (n=1) and a partial response rate of 35% (n=35), and a median DOR of 12.6 months (95% CI: 6.9-not estimable [NE]), using RECIST v1.1 criteria per IIR. As assessed using mRECIST criteria per IIR, the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination demonstrated an ORR of 46% (n=46) (95% CI: 36.0-56.3), with a complete response rate of 11% (n=11) and a partial response rate of 35% (n=35), and a median DOR of 8.6 months (95% CI: 6.9-NE).

Treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) led to discontinuation of KEYTRUDA and LENVIMA in 6% of patients, discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 10% of patients, and discontinuation of LENVIMA in 14% of patients. Grade ≥3 TRAEs occurred in 67% of patients (Grade 3: 63%; Grade 4: 1%; Grade 5: 3%). There was one Grade 4 TRAE (leukopenia/neutropenia), and there were three Grade 5 treatment-related deaths (acute respiratory failure/acute respiratory distress syndrome, intestinal perforation and abnormal hepatic function; n=1 for each). The most common TRAEs of any grade (≥20%) were hypertension (36%), diarrhea (35%), fatigue (30%), decreased appetite (28%), hypothyroidism (25%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome (23%), decreased weight (22%), dysphonia (21%), increased aspartate aminotransferase (20%) and proteinuria (20%).

KEYNOTE-146/Study 111 Trial Design and Data from the RCC Cohort (Abstract #5008)

KEYNOTE-146/Study 111 (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02501096) is a Phase 1b/2, open-label, single-arm trial evaluating the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination in patients with selected solid tumors. Results from the RCC cohort of the Phase 2 part of the study are based on 104 patients with metastatic ccRCC with disease progression following PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy using RECIST v1.1 criteria. Patients were treated with KEYTRUDA 200 mg intravenously every three weeks in combination with LENVIMA 20 mg orally once daily until unacceptable toxicity or disease progression. The primary endpoint is ORR at week 24 by immune-related RECIST (irRECIST) per investigator review. Secondary endpoints include ORR, PFS, OS, safety and tolerability for a maximum of 35 cycles/treatments (approximately two years).

At data cutoff (Apr. 9, 2020), results from the Phase 2 part of the study showed the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination demonstrated an ORR at week 24 of 51% (95% CI: 41-61) by irRECIST per investigator review. As assessed by irRECIST per investigator review, ORR was 55% (95% CI: 45-65), with a partial response rate of 55%, a stable disease rate of 36% and a progressive disease rate of 5% (5% were not evaluable). Median DOR was 12 months (95% CI: 9-18). Median PFS was 11.7 months (95% CI: 9.4-17.7), and the 12-month PFS rate was 45% (95% CI: 32-57). Median OS was not reached (NR) (95% CI:16.7-NR), and the 12-month OS rate was 77% (95% CI: 67-85).

As assessed by RECIST v1.1 per investigator review, ORR was 52% (95% CI: 42-62), with a partial response rate of 52%, a stable disease rate of 38% and a progressive disease rate of 6% (5% were not evaluable). Median DOR was 12 months (95% CI: 9-18). Median PFS was 11.3 months (95% CI: 7.6-17.7), and the 12-month PFS rate was 44% (95% CI: 31-55).

TRAEs led to discontinuation of KEYTRUDA and LENVIMA in 15% of patients, discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 12% of patients, and discontinuation of LENVIMA in 12% of patients (2% due to proteinuria). The most common TRAEs that led to dose reduction of LENVIMA were fatigue (14%), diarrhea (10%) and proteinuria (9%). Grade 4 TRAEs included lipase increased, diverticulitis, large intestine perforation and myocardial infarction, and there were two Grade 5 treatment-related deaths of upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage and sudden death. The most common TRAEs of any grade (≥20%) were fatigue (53%), diarrhea (46%), proteinuria (39%), dysphonia (35%), hypertension (34%), nausea (32%), stomatitis (32%), arthralgia (29%), decreased appetite (28%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome (25%), hypothyroidism (23%) and headache (22%).

About KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Injection, 100 mg

KEYTRUDA is an anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the body’s immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells. KEYTRUDA is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby activating T lymphocytes which may affect both tumor cells and healthy cells.

Merck has the industry’s largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. There are currently more than 1,200 trials studying KEYTRUDA across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand the role of KEYTRUDA across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient’s likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including exploring several different biomarkers.

Selected KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Indications

Melanoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph node(s) following complete resection.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with NSCLC expressing PD-L1 [tumor proportion score (TPS) ≥1%] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations, and is stage III where patients are not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or metastatic.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC whose tumors express PD-L1 (TPS ≥1%) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy. Patients with EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations should have disease progression on FDA-approved therapy for these aberrations prior to receiving KEYTRUDA.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with disease progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy and at least 1 other prior line of therapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval 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 confirmatory trials.

Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with platinum and fluorouracil (FU), is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent HNSCC whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) ≥1] as determined by an FDA-approved test.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), or who have relapsed after 3 or more prior lines of therapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval 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 trials.

Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), or who have relapsed after 2 or more prior lines of therapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval 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 confirmatory trials. KEYTRUDA is not recommended for treatment of patients with PMBCL who require urgent cytoreductive therapy.

Urothelial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who are not eligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) ≥10], as determined by an FDA-approved test, or in patients who are not eligible for any platinum-containing chemotherapy regardless of PD-L1 status. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) with carcinoma in situ (CIS) with or without papillary tumors who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy.

Microsatellite Instability-High (MSI-H) Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR)

  • solid tumors that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options, or
  • colorectal cancer that has progressed following treatment with fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan.

This indication is approved under accelerated approval 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 trials. The safety and effectiveness of KEYTRUDA in pediatric patients with MSI-H central nervous system cancers have not been established.

Gastric Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression on or after two or more prior lines of therapy including fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy and if appropriate, HER2/neu-targeted therapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval 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 trials.

Esophageal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥10) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression after one or more prior lines of systemic therapy.

Cervical Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer with disease progression on or after chemotherapy whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test. This indication is approved under accelerated approval 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 trials.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib. This indication is approved under accelerated approval 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 trials.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). This indication is approved under accelerated approval 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 trials.

Renal Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA, in combination with axitinib, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Endometrial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA, in combination with LENVIMA, is indicated for the treatment of 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. This indication is approved under accelerated approval 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.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA

Immune-Mediated Pneumonitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases. Pneumonitis occurred in 3.4% (94/2799) of patients with various cancers receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 1 (0.8%), 2 (1.3%), 3 (0.9%), 4 (0.3%), and 5 (0.1%). Pneumonitis occurred in 8.2% (65/790) of NSCLC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-4 in 3.2% of patients, and occurred more frequently in patients with a history of prior thoracic radiation (17%) compared to those without (7.7%). Pneumonitis occurred in 6% (18/300) of HNSCC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-5 in 1.6% of patients, and occurred in 5.4% (15/276) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with platinum and FU as first-line therapy for advanced disease, including Grades 3-5 in 1.5% of patients.

Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of pneumonitis. Evaluate suspected pneumonitis with radiographic imaging. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater pneumonitis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 or recurrent Grade 2 pneumonitis.

Immune-Mediated Colitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis. Colitis occurred in 1.7% (48/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.4%), 3 (1.1%), and 4 (<0.1%). Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of colitis. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater colitis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 or 3; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 4 colitis.

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis (KEYTRUDA) and Hepatotoxicity (KEYTRUDA in Combination With Axitinib)

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis occurred in 0.7% (19/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.4%), and 4 (<0.1%). Monitor patients for changes in liver function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater hepatitis and, based on severity of liver enzyme elevations, withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA.

Hepatotoxicity in Combination With Axitinib

KEYTRUDA in combination with axitinib can cause hepatic toxicity with higher than expected frequencies of Grades 3 and 4 ALT and AST elevations compared to KEYTRUDA alone. With the combination of KEYTRUDA and axitinib, Grades 3 and 4 increased ALT (20%) and increased AST (13%) were seen. Monitor liver enzymes before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment. Consider more frequent monitoring of liver enzymes as compared to when the drugs are administered as single agents. For elevated liver enzymes, interrupt KEYTRUDA and axitinib, and consider administering corticosteroids as needed.

Immune-Mediated Endocrinopathies

KEYTRUDA can cause adrenal insufficiency (primary and secondary), hypophysitis, thyroid disorders, and type 1 diabetes mellitus. Adrenal insufficiency occurred in 0.8% (22/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypophysitis occurred in 0.6% (17/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.2%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypothyroidism occurred in 8.5% (237/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (6.2%) and 3 (0.1%). The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was higher in 1185 patients with HNSCC (16%) receiving KEYTRUDA, as a single agent or in combination with platinum and FU, including Grade 3 (0.3%) hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurred in 3.4% (96/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.8%) and 3 (0.1%), and thyroiditis occurred in 0.6% (16/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%). Type 1 diabetes mellitus, including diabetic ketoacidosis, occurred in 0.2% (6/2799) of patients.

Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, hypophysitis (including hypopituitarism), thyroid function (prior to and periodically during treatment), and hyperglycemia. For adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis, administer corticosteroids and hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis and withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or Grade 4 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis. Administer hormone replacement for hypothyroidism and manage hyperthyroidism with thionamides and beta-blockers as appropriate. Withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 hyperthyroidism. Administer insulin for type 1 diabetes, and withhold KEYTRUDA and administer antihyperglycemics in patients with severe hyperglycemia.

Immune-Mediated Nephritis and Renal Dysfunction

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 0.3% (9/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 1.7% (7/405) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy. Monitor patients for changes in renal function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater nephritis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue for Grade 3 or 4 nephritis.

Immune-Mediated Skin Reactions

Immune-mediated rashes, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) (some cases with fatal outcome), exfoliative dermatitis, and bullous pemphigoid, can occur. Monitor patients for suspected severe skin reactions and based on the severity of the adverse reaction, withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA and administer corticosteroids. For signs or symptoms of SJS or TEN, withhold KEYTRUDA and refer the patient for specialized care for assessment and treatment. If SJS or TEN is confirmed, permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA.

Other Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions

Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue in patients receiving KEYTRUDA and may also occur after discontinuation of treatment. For suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, ensure adequate evaluation to confirm etiology or exclude other causes. Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, withhold KEYTRUDA and administer corticosteroids. Upon improvement to Grade 1 or less, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue to taper over at least 1 month. Based on limited data from clinical studies in patients whose immune-related adverse reactions could not be controlled with corticosteroid use, administration of other systemic immunosuppressants can be considered.

Contacts

Merck Media Relations
Pamela Eisele: (267) 305-3558

Michael Close: (267) 305-1211

Merck Investor Relations
Peter Dannenbaum: (908) 740-1037

Courtney Ronaldo: (908) 740-6132

Eisai Inc. Media Relations
Michele Randazzo: (551) 579-4465

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