MSD and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) have released new data showing that the anti-PD-1 therapy Keytruda significantly prolonged recurrence-free survival (RFS) in patients with high-risk stage III melanoma.

According to findings from the Phase III EORTC1325/KEYNOTE-054 trial, the drug cut the risk of disease recurrence or death by 43 percent compared to placebo in the overall study population.

The one-year RFS rate was 75.4 percent for Keytruda (pembrolizumab) compared to 61.0 percent for placebo in the overall population, while for those whose tumors were considered PD-L1 positive, the results were 77.1 percent and 66.2 percent, respectively.

“These data demonstrate compelling evidence that adjuvant treatment with KEYTRUDA provides significant recurrence-free survival benefit after surgery in patients with high-risk Stage III melanoma,” said Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of Global Clinical Development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories.

“These are the first data for KEYTRUDA in the adjuvant setting and mark an important advancement for the treatment of resected stage III melanoma.”

The findings were presented at AACR 2018 and Published in The New England Journal of Medicine.