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This KEYTRUDA Combination Is Approved for High-Risk Early-Stage Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC)

July 27, 2021, 6:30 am ET

FDA Approves KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) for Treatment of Patients With High-Risk Early-Stage Triple-Negative Breast Cancer in Combination With Chemotherapy as Neoadjuvant Treatment, Then Continued as Single Agent as Adjuvant Treatment After Surgery.

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This KEYTRUDA Combination Is the First Immunotherapy Regimen Approved for High-Risk Early-Stage Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC)

KEYTRUDA Is Now Approved in the US for 30 Indications

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, for the treatment of patients with high-risk early-stage triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in combination with chemotherapy as neoadjuvant treatment and then continued as a single agent as adjuvant treatment after surgery, based on Phase 3 KEYNOTE-522 trial. TNBC is an aggressive type of breast cancer with an increased risk for disease recurrence. KEYNOTE-522 showed that KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy (carboplatin and paclitaxel, followed by doxorubicin or epirubicin and cyclophosphamide) before surgery and continued as a single agent after surgery significantly prolonged event-free survival (EFS) versus the same neoadjuvant chemotherapy regimens alone in patients with previously untreated stage II or stage III TNBC – there was a 37% reduction in the risk of disease progression that precluded definitive surgery, a local/distant recurrence, a second primary cancer, or death from any cause (HR=0.63 [95% CI, 0.48-0.82]; p=0.00031). With this approval, KEYTRUDA is now approved in the U.S. for 30 indications.

“Even when TNBC is diagnosed early, 30-40% of patients will suffer cancer recurrence after standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy and surgery,” said Dr. Joyce O’Shaughnessy, chair of Breast Cancer Research, Baylor University Medical Center, Texas Oncology, U.S. Oncology, Dallas, Texas. “Therefore, there is a high unmet need for new treatment options. Today’s approval is very welcome news and has the potential to change the treatment paradigm by now including immunotherapy as part of the regimen for patients with high-risk early-stage TNBC.”

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