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Keytruda/Lenvima combo shows promise in hard-to-treat cancers

MSD (Merck) and Eisai have revealed new data from two trials under the LEAP clinical programme evaluating the combination of MSD’s PD-1 inhibitor Keytruda and Eisai’s oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor Lenvima.

The results, presented at the 2020 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) virtual congress, showed that Keytruda (pembrolizumab) plus Lenvima (lenvatinib) demonstrated an objective response rate (ORR) of 21.4% in patients with unresectable or advance melanoma who had previously progressed on an anti-PD-1/L1 therapy.

In another phase II trial, Keytruda plus Lenvima demonstrated an ORR between 9.7-32.3% in previously treated patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), ovarian cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and biliary tract cancer (BTC).

However, the combo treatment performed better in certain cancers compared to others, reporting a response in 32.3% of highly-treated ovarian cancer patients and 29% of previously treated TNBC patients.

In third-line gastric cancer or second-line biliary tract cancer, the response rate was less impressive, with a 9.7% response rate recorded in each group. In addition, Keytruda plus Lenvima also produced a 16.1% response rate in the rare brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

“These new data from our LEAP clinical program show encouraging activity across several aggressive cancer types and expand our knowledge about the potential of KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA to help a range of patients with these cancers,” said Scot Ebbinghaus, vice president, Clinical Research, Merck Research Laboratories.

“This is the first time that clinical data from two LEAP trials are being presented, reflecting important progress we are making to explore the potential of this combination for patients in need of new options, particularly those with advanced melanoma who have progressed on an anti-PD-1 or PD-L1 therapy,” he added.