Market Overview

KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) is the First Anti-PD-1 Therapy Approved in China for Advanced Melanoma

Share:

KEYTRUDA Approved By China National Drug Administration (CNDA) in
Five Months, Accelerating Availability of Anti-PD-1 Option to Advanced
Melanoma Patients in China

Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada,
today announced that KEYTRUDA®, Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy,
has been approved by the China National Drug Administration (CNDA) for
the treatment of adult patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma
following failure of one prior line of therapy. This is the first and
only approval of an anti-PD-1 therapy for advanced melanoma in China.

"Over the past decades, we have had limited effective options in the
treatment of patients with advanced melanoma," Professor Jun Guo, M.D.,
Ph.D, director of the Department of Melanoma & Renal Cancer, Peking
University Cancer Hospital and Institute Secretary-General of the
Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology, primary investigator, KEYNOTE-151.
"Advanced melanoma is one of the cancers that has been most responsive
to immunotherapy, and outside of China, anti-PD-1 therapies such as
pembrolizumab have become the standard therapy for this disease. With
the approval of pembrolizumab in China, the treatment of advanced
melanoma will now be aligned with international standards."

The approval of KEYTRUDA in China was based on overall response rate
(ORR) data from the Phase 1b KEYNOTE-151 study, which evaluated KEYTRUDA
monotherapy in Chinese patients with previously treated locally advanced
or metastatic melanoma who received one prior line of systemic therapy.
In 2018, the CNDA granted priority review status to KEYTRUDA, which
accelerated the approval process by allowing for simultaneous clinical
validation for the first time – creating an industry leading approval
turnaround time for imported cancer medicine in China.

"Merck is committed to bringing new treatment advances, like KEYTRUDA,
to cancer patients in China," said Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president
and head of global clinical development, chief medical officer, Merck
Research Laboratories. "The approval of KEYTRUDA in China, for this
first indication, was made possible through extensive collaborative
effort with the Chinese patients and investigators who participated in
KEYNOTE-151, as well as the regulatory and government authorities who
prioritized this filing. We appreciate their commitment to bringing
forward the first anti-PD-1 therapy for advanced melanoma in China."

"The approval of our anti-PD-1 therapy reflects the Chinese government's
strong commitment to expedite the introduction of innovative therapies
to Chinese patients," said Joseph Romanelli, president of MSD China.
"The approval of KEYTRUDA in advanced melanoma marks the sixth new
product approval for MSD China in 2018. We are encouraged that our
scientific advancements are leading to new options for patients and
their families."

About Melanoma in China

Malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is
characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells. The
incidence of melanoma has been increasing over the past four decades –
approximately 232,000 new cases were diagnosed worldwide in 2012.
Melanoma is one of the fastest growing malignant cancers in China,
increasing at an annual rate of 3-5 percent, which makes it one of the
deadliest diseases in the country. Research data has shown that once the
disease metastasizes, the five-year survival rate for metastatic
melanoma in Chinese patients is only 4.6 percent.

About KEYNOTE-151

KEYNOTE-151 is an open-label, single-arm, multi-center, Phase 1b trial
evaluating KEYTRUDA monotherapy in 103 Chinese patients with previously
treated locally advanced or metastatic melanoma who received one prior
line of systemic therapy. Patients were enrolled to receive KEYTRUDA at
a dose of 2 mg/kg every three weeks. The primary efficacy outcome
measure was ORR as assessed by Blinded Independent Central Review (BICR)
using RECIST 1.1. Secondary efficacy outcome measures were duration of
response (DOR) and progression-free survival (PFS; as assessed by BICR
per RECIST 1.1 and irRECIST), ORR (as assessed by BICR per irRECIST) and
overall survival (OS).

About KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Injection,
100mg

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, which currently involves more than 750 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.

KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Indications and Dosing in the U.S.

Melanoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or
metastatic melanoma at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until
disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment
of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose
tumors have high PD-L1 expression [tumor proportion score (TPS) ≥50%] as
determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor
aberrations.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is also 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.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with pemetrexed and carboplatin, is indicated
for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous
NSCLC. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on
tumor response rate and progression-free survival. Continued approval
for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description
of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

In metastatic NSCLC, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg
every three weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or
up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.

When administering KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy, KEYTRUDA
should be administered prior to chemotherapy when given on the same day.
See also the Prescribing Information for pemetrexed and carboplatin.

Head and Neck Cancer

KEYTRUDA 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. 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. In HNSCC, KEYTRUDA is
administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease
progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients
without disease progression.

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 three 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. In adults with cHL, KEYTRUDA is administered at a
fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression or
unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease
progression. In pediatric patients with cHL, KEYTRUDA is administered at
a dose of 2 mg/kg (up to a maximum of 200 mg) every three weeks until
disease progression or unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in
patients without disease progression.

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
the treatment of patients with PMBCL who require urgent cytoreductive
therapy. In adults with PMBCL, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose
of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression, unacceptable
toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression. In
pediatric patients with PMBCL, KEYTRUDA is administered at a dose of 2
mg/kg (up to a maximum of 200 mg) every three weeks until disease
progression or unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients
without disease progression.

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], 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 the confirmatory trials.

KEYTRUDA is also 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.

In locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma, KEYTRUDA is
administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease
progression or unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients
without disease progression.

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. In adult patients with
MSI-H cancer, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every
three weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to
24 months in patients without disease progression. In children with
MSI-H cancer, KEYTRUDA is administered at a dose of 2 mg/kg (up to a
maximum of 200 mg) every three weeks until disease progression or
unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease
progression.

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 [Combined Positive Score
(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. The recommended dose of KEYTRUDA is 200 mg every
three weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to
24 months in patients without disease progression.

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. The recommended dose of KEYTRUDA is 200 mg every three weeks
until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity or up to 24 months in
patients without disease progression.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases.
Pneumonitis occurred in 94 (3.4%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA,
including Grade 1 (0.8%), 2 (1.3%), 3 (0.9%), 4 (0.3%), and 5 (0.1%)
pneumonitis, and occurred more frequently in patients with a history of
prior thoracic radiation (6.9%) compared to those without (2.9%).
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.

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis. Colitis occurred in 48
(1.7%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.4%), 3
(1.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) colitis. 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.

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis occurred in 19
(0.7%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3
(0.4%), and 4 (<0.1%) hepatitis. 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.

KEYTRUDA can cause hypophysitis. Hypophysitis occurred in 17 (0.6%) of
2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.2%), 3 (0.3%),
and 4 (<0.1%) hypophysitis. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of
hypophysitis (including hypopituitarism and adrenal insufficiency).
Administer corticosteroids and hormone replacement as clinically
indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; withhold or discontinue for
Grade 3 or 4 hypophysitis.

KEYTRUDA can cause thyroid disorders, including hyperthyroidism,
hypothyroidism, and thyroiditis. Hyperthyroidism occurred in 96 (3.4%)
of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.8%) and 3
(0.1%) hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurred in 237 (8.5%) of 2799
patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (6.2%) and 3 (0.1%)
hypothyroidism. The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was
higher in patients with HNSCC, occurring in 28 (15%) of 192 patients
with HNSCC, including Grade 3 (0.5%) hypothyroidism. Thyroiditis
occurred in 16 (0.6%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including
Grade 2 (0.3%) thyroiditis. Monitor patients for changes in thyroid
function (at the start of treatment, periodically during treatment, and
as indicated based on clinical evaluation) and for clinical signs and
symptoms of thyroid disorders. Administer replacement hormones for
hypothyroidism and manage hyperthyroidism with thionamides and
beta-blockers as appropriate. Withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade
3 or 4 hyperthyroidism.

KEYTRUDA can cause type 1 diabetes mellitus, including diabetic
ketoacidosis, which have been reported in 6 (0.2%) of 2799 patients.
Monitor patients for hyperglycemia or other signs and symptoms of
diabetes. Administer insulin for type 1 diabetes, and withhold KEYTRUDA
and administer antihyperglycemics in patients with severe hyperglycemia.

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

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.

Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can
occur in any organ system or tissue in patients receiving KEYTRUDA.
While immune-mediated adverse reactions usually occur during treatment
with PD-1/PD-L1 blocking antibodies, they may 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. Resume KEYTRUDA when the adverse reaction remains at
Grade 1 or less following corticosteroid taper. Permanently discontinue
KEYTRUDA for any Grade 3 immune-mediated adverse reaction that recurs
and for any life-threatening immune-mediated adverse reaction.

The following clinically significant immune-mediated adverse reactions
occurred in less than 1% (unless otherwise indicated) of 2799 patients:
arthritis (1.5%), uveitis, myositis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myasthenia
gravis, vasculitis, pancreatitis, hemolytic anemia, sarcoidosis, and
encephalitis. In addition, myelitis and myocarditis were reported in
other clinical trials, including cHL, and postmarketing use.

Solid organ transplant rejection has been reported in postmarketing use
of KEYTRUDA. Treatment with KEYTRUDA may increase the risk of rejection
in solid organ transplant recipients. Consider the benefit of treatment
with KEYTRUDA vs the risk of possible organ rejection in these patients.

KEYTRUDA can cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related
reactions, including hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis, which have been
reported in 6 (0.2%) of 2799 patients. Monitor patients for signs and
symptoms of infusion-related reactions, including rigors, chills,
wheezing, pruritus, flushing, rash, hypotension, hypoxemia, and fever.
For Grade 3 or 4 reactions, stop infusion and permanently discontinue
KEYTRUDA.

Immune-mediated complications, including fatal events, occurred in
patients who underwent allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell
transplantation (HSCT) after treatment with KEYTRUDA. Of 23 patients
with cHL who proceeded to allogeneic HSCT after KEYTRUDA, 6 developed
graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (one fatal case), and two developed
severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) after reduced-intensity
conditioning (one fatal case). Cases of fatal hyperacute GVHD after
allogeneic HSCT have also been reported in patients with lymphoma who
received a PD-1 receptor–blocking antibody before transplantation.
Follow patients closely for early evidence of transplant-related
complications such as hyperacute GVHD, Grade 3 to 4 acute GVHD,
steroid-requiring febrile syndrome, hepatic VOD, and other
immune-mediated adverse reactions, and intervene promptly.

In patients with a history of allogeneic HSCT, acute GVHD, including
fatal GVHD, has been reported after treatment with KEYTRUDA. Patients
who experienced GVHD after their transplant procedure may be at
increased risk for GVHD after KEYTRUDA. Consider the benefit of KEYTRUDA
vs the risk of GVHD in these patients.

In clinical trials in patients with multiple myeloma, the addition of
KEYTRUDA to a thalidomide analogue plus dexamethasone resulted in
increased mortality. Treatment of these patients with a PD-1 or PD-L1
blocking antibody in this combination is not recommended outside of
controlled clinical trials.

Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA can cause fetal harm when
administered to a pregnant woman. If used during pregnancy, or if the
patient becomes pregnant during treatment, apprise the patient of the
potential hazard to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to
use highly effective contraception during treatment and for 4 months
after the last dose of KEYTRUDA.

In KEYNOTE-006, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 9%
of 555 patients with advanced melanoma; adverse reactions leading to
discontinuation in more than one patient were colitis (1.4%), autoimmune
hepatitis (0.7%), allergic reaction (0.4%), polyneuropathy (0.4%), and
cardiac failure (0.4%). Adverse reactions leading to interruption of
KEYTRUDA occurred in 21% of patients; the most common (≥1%) was diarrhea
(2.5%). The most common adverse reactions with KEYTRUDA vs ipilimumab
were fatigue (28% vs 28%), diarrhea (26% with KEYTRUDA), rash (24% vs
23%), and nausea (21% with KEYTRUDA). Corresponding incidence rates are
listed for ipilimumab only for those adverse reactions that occurred at
the same or lower rate than with KEYTRUDA.

In KEYNOTE-010, KEYTRUDA monotherapy was discontinued due to adverse
reactions in 8% of 682 patients with metastatic NSCLC. The most common
adverse event resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was
pneumonitis (1.8%). Adverse reactions leading to interruption of
KEYTRUDA occurred in 23% of patients; the most common (≥1%) were
diarrhea (1%), fatigue (1.3%), pneumonia (1%), liver enzyme elevation
(1.2%), decreased appetite (1.3%), and pneumonitis (1%). The most common
adverse reactions (occurring in at least 20% of patients and at a higher
incidence than with docetaxel) were decreased appetite (25% vs 23%),
dyspnea (23% vs 20%), and nausea (20% vs 18%).

In KEYNOTE-021(G1), when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with
carboplatin and pemetrexed (carbo/pem) in advanced nonsquamous NSCLC,
KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 10% of 59 patients. The most common adverse
reaction resulting in discontinuation of KEYTRUDA (≥2%) was acute kidney
injury (3.4%). Adverse reactions leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA
occurred in 39% of patients; the most common (≥2%) were fatigue (8%),
neutrophil count decreased (8%), anemia (5%), dyspnea (3.4%), and
pneumonitis (3.4%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with
KEYTRUDA compared to carbo/pem alone were fatigue (71% vs 50%), nausea
(68% vs 56%), constipation (51% vs 37%), rash (42% vs 21%), vomiting
(39% vs 27%), dyspnea (39% vs 21%), diarrhea (37% vs 23%), decreased
appetite (31% vs 23%), headache (31% vs 16%), cough (24% vs 18%),
dizziness (24% vs 16%), insomnia (24% vs 15%), pruritus (24% vs 4.8%),
peripheral edema (22% vs 18%), dysgeusia (20% vs 11%), alopecia (20% vs
3.2%), upper respiratory tract infection (20% vs 3.2%), and arthralgia
(15% vs 24%). This study was not designed to demonstrate a statistically
significant difference in adverse reaction rates for KEYTRUDA as
compared to carbo/pem alone for any specified adverse reaction.

In KEYNOTE-012, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in
17% of 192 patients with HNSCC. Serious adverse reactions occurred in
45% of patients. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in
at least 2% of patients were pneumonia, dyspnea, confusional state,
vomiting, pleural effusion, and respiratory failure. The most common
adverse reactions (reported in at least 20% of patients) were fatigue,
decreased appetite, and dyspnea. Adverse reactions occurring in patients
with HNSCC were generally similar to those occurring in patients with
melanoma or NSCLC, with the exception of increased incidences of facial
edema (10% all Grades; 2.1% Grades 3 or 4) and new or worsening
hypothyroidism.

In KEYNOTE-087, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 5%
of 210 patients with cHL, and treatment was interrupted due to adverse
reactions in 26% of patients. Fifteen percent (15%) of patients had an
adverse reaction requiring systemic corticosteroid therapy. Serious
adverse reactions occurred in 16% of patients. The most frequent serious
adverse reactions (≥1%) included pneumonia, pneumonitis, pyrexia,
dyspnea, GVHD, and herpes zoster. Two patients died from causes other
than disease progression; one from GVHD after subsequent allogeneic HSCT
and one from septic shock. The most common adverse reactions (occurring
in ≥20% of patients) were fatigue (26%), pyrexia (24%), cough (24%),
musculoskeletal pain (21%), diarrhea (20%), and rash (20%).

In KEYNOTE-170, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8%
of 53 patients with PMBCL, and treatment was interrupted due to adverse
reactions in 15%. Twenty-five percent (25%) of patients had an adverse
reaction requiring systemic corticosteroid therapy. Serious adverse
reactions occurred in 26% of patients and included: arrhythmia (4%),
cardiac tamponade (2%), myocardial infarction (2%), pericardial effusion
(2%), and pericarditis (2%). Six (11%) patients died within 30 days of
start of treatment. The most common adverse reactions (occurring in ≥20%
of patients) were musculoskeletal pain (30%), upper respiratory tract
infection and pyrexia (28% each), cough (26%), fatigue (23%), and
dyspnea (21%).

In KEYNOTE-052, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in
11% of 370 patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial
carcinoma. The most common adverse reactions (in ≥20% of patients) were
fatigue (38%), musculoskeletal pain (24%), decreased appetite (22%),
constipation (21%), rash (21%), and diarrhea (20%). Eighteen patients
(5%) died from causes other than disease progression. Five patients
(1.4%) who were treated with KEYTRUDA experienced sepsis which led to
death, and 3 patients (0.8%) experienced pneumonia which led to death.
Adverse reactions leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA occurred in 22% of
patients; the most common (≥1%) were liver enzyme increase, diarrhea,
urinary tract infection, acute kidney injury, fatigue, joint pain, and
pneumonia. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 42% of patients, the
most frequent (≥2%) of which were urinary tract infection, hematuria,
acute kidney injury, pneumonia, and urosepsis.

In KEYNOTE-045, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8%
of 266 patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial
carcinoma. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent
discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was pneumonitis (1.9%). Adverse reactions
leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA occurred in 20% of patients; the
most common (≥1%) were urinary tract infection (1.5%), diarrhea (1.5%),
and colitis (1.1%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients
who received KEYTRUDA vs those who received chemotherapy were fatigue
(38% vs 56%), musculoskeletal pain (32% vs 27%), pruritus (23% vs 6%),
decreased appetite (21% vs 21%), nausea (21% vs 29%), and rash (20% vs
13%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of KEYTRUDA-treated
patients, the most frequent (≥2%) of which were urinary tract infection,
pneumonia, anemia, and pneumonitis.

In KEYNOTE-158, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8%
of 98 patients (in Cohort E) with recurrent or metastatic cervical
cancer. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of patients receiving
KEYTRUDA. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported included
anemia (7%), fistula, hemorrhage, and infections [except urinary tract
infections] (4.1% each). The most common adverse reactions (occurring in
≥20% of patients) were fatigue (43%), musculoskeletal pain (27%),
diarrhea (23%), pain and abdominal pain (22% each), and decreased
appetite (21%).

It is not known whether KEYTRUDA is excreted in human milk. Because many
drugs are excreted in human milk, instruct women to discontinue nursing
during treatment with KEYTRUDA and for 4 months after the final dose.

There is limited experience in pediatric patients. In a study, 40
pediatric patients (16 children aged 2 years to younger than 12 years
and 24 adolescents aged 12 years to 18 years) with advanced melanoma,
lymphoma, or PD-L1–positive advanced, relapsed, or refractory solid
tumors were administered KEYTRUDA 2 mg/kg every 3 weeks. Patients
received KEYTRUDA for a median of 3 doses (range 1–17 doses), with 34
patients (85%) receiving 2 doses or more. The safety profile in these
pediatric patients was similar to that seen in adults treated with
KEYTRUDA. Toxicities that occurred at a higher rate (≥15% difference) in
these patients when compared to adults under 65 years of age were
fatigue (45%), vomiting (38%), abdominal pain (28%),
hypertransaminasemia (28%), and hyponatremia (18%).

Merck's Focus on Cancer

Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology
medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, the potential
to bring new hope to people with cancer drives our purpose and
supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment.

As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the
potential of immuno-oncology with one of the largest development
programs in the industry across more than 30 tumor types. We also
continue to strengthen our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and
are prioritizing the development of several promising oncology
candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced
cancers.

For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials.

About Merck

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical
company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been
inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of
the world's most challenging diseases. Through our prescription
medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we
work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver
innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to
increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs
and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of
research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that
threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer,
cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer's disease
and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information,
visit www.merck.com
and connect with us on TwitterFacebookInstagram,
YouTube
and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the
"company") includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of
the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs
and expectations of the company's management and are subject to
significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with
respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the
necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be
commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or
risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially
from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry
conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest
rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of
pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the
United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost
containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained
by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development,
including obtaining regulatory approval; the company's ability to
accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties
or delays; financial instability of international economies and
sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company's patents
and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to
litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any
forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results
to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking
statements can be found in the company's 2017 Annual Report on Form 10-K
and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site (www.sec.gov).

Please see Prescribing Information for KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) at https://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_pi.pdf
and

Patient Information/Medication Guide for KEYTRUDA
(pembrolizumab) at
https://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_mg.pdf.

View Comments and Join the Discussion!