A combination of MSD’s Keytruda and chemotherapy extended overall survival when used as a first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The pivotal, Phase III KEYNOTE-189 trial met its dual primary endpoints of showing a benefit to overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in patients taking the anti-PD-1 therapy alongside pemetrexed (Alimta; Eli Lilly) and cisplatin or carboplatin.

According to Merck, Keytruda is the first PD-1 inhibitor/chemotherapy combination to show overall survival in NSCLC.

Results from the trial will be presented at an upcoming medical meeting and submitted to regulatory authorities, the firm said.

The Keytruda/chemo combination has already received clearance in the US, but MSD pulled back its application in October last year, reportedly after the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) was reluctant to back approval at the time.