Published On: Sun, May 14th, 2017

Merck lung cancer drug Keytruda plus chemo gets FDA approval for NSCLC

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Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in combination with chemotherapy has been approved by the US (FDA) as a first-line option for advanced lung cancer treatment in patients who didn’t take any medicines before for the .

The Keytruda chemotherapy combination has been approved to treat metastatic non-squamous non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), irrespective of PD-L1 expression in the patient. The chemotherapy to be used in combination with Merck Keytruda is the commonly used chemotherapy regimen of pemetrexed (brand name Alimta) and (pem/carbo).

Commenting on the Merck lung cancer drug Keytruda FDA approval, Dr. Corey Langer, director of thoracic oncology and professor of medicine at the Hospital of the University of , said: “This approval marks an important milestone in the treatment of lung cancer. Now, pembrolizumab in combination with pemetrexed and carboplatin can be prescribed in the first-line setting for patients with metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer, irrespective of PD-L1 expression.

“Physicians should continue to use each patient’s individual characteristics – including biomarker status, histology, and other clinical factors – to determine the best treatment plan for each person.”

Merck lung cancer drug Keytruda

Merck lung cancer drug Keytruda. Photo courtesy of Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck’s lung cancer drug Keytruda is now the only anti-PD-1 to be approved in the first-line setting as monotherapy and combination therapy for suitable patients suffering from metastatic NSCLC.

An anti-PD-1 therapy, Keytruda works by improving the ability of the immune system in detecting and fighting tumor cells. Merck lung cancer drug Keytruda is a humanized monoclonal antibody that inhibits the interaction of PD-1 with its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2. Follow which, T lymphocytes are activated by the action which is likely to affect tumor cells as well as healthy cells.

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