A recent pair of late-stage studies conducted by Merck & Co. and Eisai have shown that their cancer-drug combination did not achieve its main goals in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
In one study, the addition of Lenvima to the existing combination of Merck’s Keytruda, Eli Lilly’s Alimta, and platinum-containing chemotherapy did not meet its primary endpoints of overall survival and progression-free survival. This combination was being tested as a first-line treatment for adults with metastatic, nonsquamous NSCLC who do not respond to certain other therapies.
The second study, which compared Keytruda plus Lenvima to docetaxel in patients with metastatic NSCLC who had previously received platinum-containing chemotherapy and one anti-PD-1/-L1 immunotherapy, also did not achieve its primary endpoints.
Non-small cell lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally, accounting for over 80% of cases.
Merck and Eisai stated that the safety profile of the Keytruda plus Lenvima combination in these studies was consistent with previously reported data.
In 2018, Eisai and Merck formed a partnership to jointly develop, produce, and market Lenvima as a monotherapy and in combination with Keytruda. Currently, this combination is approved for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma and certain types of advanced endometrial carcinoma in the U.S., EU, Japan, and other countries. It is also being evaluated in various other tumor types.
The companies emphasized that the outcome of these unsuccessful studies does not impact the current approved uses or ongoing trials involving the Keytruda plus Lenvima combination.