Keytruda/Chemo Combo Approval Means Merck Holds Crown, For Now
FDA's approval of Merck's Keytruda/chemo combo based on Phase II data secures the company's position in the prized first-line lung cancer indication, but Phase III readouts from other combination trials are right around the corner.
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As results for KEYNOTE-042 are reported at ASCO, Merck's Roy Baynes says Keytruda plus chemotherapy is the standard of care in first-line non-small cell lung cancer, but Keytruda monotherapy is an option for those who don't tolerate chemo well and/or don't have very active disease.
Data showing overall survival benefit for Keytruda in patients with at least 1% PD-L1 expression ups the ante for competitors Bristol and Roche, which will be presenting data for combinations in lung cancer at the American Association of Clinical Research meeting in April.