- In a phase 1 trial for Merck's immunotherapy Keytruda, thirteen of seventeen patients with multiple myeloma experienced a meaningful reduction in their cancer, for an overall response rate (ORR) of 76%. Their treatment regimen was a combo comprised of Keytruda (pembrolizumab), Celgene's Revlimid (lenalidomide), and dexamethasone.
- These patients' cancer was no longer responding to any other treatment.
- This 50-person trial is still ongoing. For these preliminary results, however, only 17 patients were evaluated.
Could Merck hit on treatments for melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and multiple myeloma? Quite possibly, at least based on preliminary results. This is all part of Merck's game plan to test Keytruda and its immuno-oncologic PD-1 blocking power on 30 different types of tumors. In addition to the positive results of this trial, researchers were also encouraged by the low incidence of serious side effects, and the absence of colitis or lung inflammation cases in the patients.
Keytruda already has been approved to treat lung cancer and melanoma.