Merck is pleased to announce that KEYTRUDA has been approved by the FDA for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph
Merck is pleased to announce that KEYTRUDA has been approved by the FDA for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph node(s) following complete resection.
KEYTRUDA is also indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.
· PD-L1 diagnostic testing is not required prior to initiating treatment with KEYTRUDA in these patients
FDA=Food and Drug Administration; PD-L1=programmed death ligand 1.
Selected Safety Information for KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) injection 100 mg
· Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur with KEYTRUDA, including pneumonitis, colitis, hepatitis, endocrinopathies, nephritis, severe skin reactions, solid organ transplant rejection, and complications of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, KEYTRUDA should be withheld or discontinued and corticosteroids administered if appropriate. For more information regarding immune-mediated adverse reactions, please read the additional Selected Safety Information below.
KEYNOTE-054Adjuvant Treatment of Resected Melanoma
The efficacy of KEYTRUDA was evaluated in KEYNOTE-054 (NCT02362594), a multicenter, randomized (1:1), double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in patients with completely resected stage IIIA (>1 mm lymph node metastasis), IIIB or IIIC melanoma. Patients were randomized to KEYTRUDA 200 mg every 3 weeks or placebo for up to 1 year until disease recurrence or unacceptable toxicity. Randomization was stratified by American Joint Committee on Cancer 7th edition (AJCC) stage (IIIA vs IIIB vs IIIC 1-3 positive lymph nodes vs IIIC ≥4 positive lymph nodes) and geographic region (North America, European countries, Australia, and other countries as designated). Patients must have undergone lymph node dissection and, if indicated, radiotherapy within 13 weeks prior to starting treatment. The major efficacy outcome measure was investigator-assessed recurrence-free survival (RFS) in the whole population and in the population with PD-L1 positive tumors where RFS was defined as the time between the date of randomization and the date of first recurrence (local, regional, or distant metastasis) or death, whichever occurs first. Patients underwent imaging every 12 weeks after the first dose of KEYTRUDA for the first 2 years, then every 6 months from year 3 to 5, and then annually.
The study population characteristics were median age of 54 years (range: 19 to 88); 25% age 65 or older; 62% male; 94% Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Score (PS) of 0 and 6% ECOG PS of 1. Sixteen percent had stage IIIA, 46% had stage IIIB, 18% had stage IIIC (1-3 positive lymph nodes), and 20% had stage IIIC, (≥4 positive lymph nodes); 50% were BRAF V600 mutation positive and 44% were BRAF wild-type; and 84% had PD-L1 positive melanoma with tumor proportion score (TPS ≥1%) according to an investigational use only (IUO) assay.
The trial demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in RFS for patients randomized to the KEYTRUDA arm compared with placebo. Efficacy results are summarized below.
Efficacy Results in KEYNOTE-054
Number (%) of patients with event
Median in months (95% CI)
20.4 (16.2, NR)
Hazard ratio*† (95% CI)
0.57 (0.46, 0.70)
*Based on the stratified Cox proportional hazard model
†Stratified by AJCC 7th edition stage
±p-Value is compared with 0.008 of the allocated alpha for this interim analysis.
For patients with PD-L1 positive tumors, the hazard ratio (HR) was 0.54 (95% CI: 0.42, 0.69); P<0.001. The RFS benefit for KEYTRUDA compared to placebo was observed regardless of tumor PD-L1 expression.
Recommended Dosage for Melanoma
The recommended dose of KEYTRUDA is 200 mg administered as an intravenous infusion over 30 minutes every 3 weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.
The recommended dose of KEYTRUDA for the adjuvant treatment of adult patients with melanoma is 200 mg administered as an intravenous infusion over 30 minutes every 3 weeks until disease recurrence, unacceptable toxicity, or for up to 12 months in patients without disease recurrence.
Selected Safety Information for KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) injection 100 mg (continued)
· KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases. Pneumonitis occurred in 3.4%(94/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 1 (0.8%), 2 (1.3%), 3 (0.9%), 4 (0.3%), and 5 (0.1%), and occurred more frequently in patients with a history of prior thoracic radiation (6.9%) compared to those without (2.9%). Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of pneumonitis. Evaluate suspected pneumonitis with radiographic imaging. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater pneumonitis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 or recurrent Grade 2 pneumonitis.
· KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis. Colitis occurred in 1.7% (48/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.4%), 3 (1.1%), and 4 (<0.1%). Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of colitis. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater colitis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 or 3; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 4 colitis.
· KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis occurred in 0.7% (19/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.4%), and 4 (<0.1%). Monitor patients for changes in liver function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater hepatitis and, based on severity of liver enzyme elevations, withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA.
· KEYTRUDA can cause hypophysitis, thyroid disorders, and type 1 diabetes mellitus. Hypophysitis occurred in 0.6% (17/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.2%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypothyroidism occurred in 8.5% (237/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (6.2%) and 3 (0.1%). Hyperthyroidism occurred in 3.4% (96/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.8%) and 3 (0.1%), and thyroiditis occurred in 0.6% (16/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%). Type 1 diabetes mellitus, including diabetic ketoacidosis, occurred in 0.2% (6/2799) of patients.
· Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of hypophysitis (including hypopituitarism and adrenal insufficiency), thyroid function (prior to and periodically during treatment), and hyperglycemia. For hypophysitis, administer corticosteroids and hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 and withhold or discontinue for Grade 3 or 4 hypophysitis. Administer hormone replacement for hypothyroidism and manage hyperthyroidism with thionamides and beta-blockers as appropriate. Withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 hyperthyroidism. Administer insulin for type 1 diabetes, and withhold KEYTRUDA and administer antihyperglycemics in patients with severe hyperglycemia.
Immune-Mediated Nephritis and Renal Dysfunction
· KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 0.3% (9/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) nephritis. Monitor patients for changes in renal function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater nephritis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue for Grade 3 or 4 nephritis.
Immune-Mediated Skin Reactions
· Immune-mediated rashes, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) (some cases with fatal outcome), exfoliative dermatitis, and bullous pemphigoid, can occur. Monitor patients for suspected severe skin reactions and based on the severity of the adverse reaction, withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA and administer corticosteroids. For signs or symptoms of SJS or TEN, withhold KEYTRUDA and refer the patient for specialized care for assessment and treatment. If SJS or TEN is confirmed, permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA.
Other Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions
· Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue in patients receiving KEYTRUDA and may also occur after discontinuation of treatment. For suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, ensure adequate evaluation to confirm etiology or exclude other causes. Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, withhold KEYTRUDA and administer corticosteroids. Upon improvement to Grade 1 or less, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue to taper over at least 1 month. Based on limited data from clinical studies in patients whose immune-related adverse reactions could not be controlled with corticosteroid use, administration of other systemic immunosuppressants can be considered. Resume KEYTRUDA when the adverse reaction remains at Grade 1 or less following corticosteroid taper. Permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for any Grade 3 immune-mediated adverse reaction that recurs and for any life-threatening immune-mediated adverse reaction.
· The following clinically significant immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred in less than 1% (unless otherwise indicated) of 2799 patients: arthritis (1.5%), uveitis, myositis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myasthenia gravis, vasculitis, pancreatitis, hemolytic anemia, sarcoidosis, and encephalitis. In addition, myelitis and myocarditis were reported in other clinical trials, including cHL, and postmarketing use.
· Treatment with KEYTRUDA may increase the risk of rejection in solid organ transplant recipients. Consider the benefit of treatment vs the risk of possible organ rejection in these patients.
· KEYTRUDA can cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions, including hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis, which have been reported in 0.2% (6/2799) of patients. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infusion-related reactions. For Grade 3 or 4 reactions, stop infusion and permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA.
Complications of Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT)
· Immune-mediated complications, including fatal events, occurred in patients who underwent allogeneic HSCT after treatment with KEYTRUDA. Follow patients closely for early evidence of transplant-related complications such as hyperacute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), Grade 3 to 4 acute GVHD, steroid-requiring febrile syndrome, hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD), and other immune-mediated adverse reactions.
· In patients with a history of allogeneic HSCT, acute GVHD (including fatal GVHD) has been reported after treatment with KEYTRUDA. Patients who experienced GVHD after their transplant procedure may be at increased risk for GVHD after KEYTRUDA. Consider the benefit of KEYTRUDA vs the risk of GVHD in these patients.
Increased Mortality in Patients With Multiple Myeloma
· In trials in patients with multiple myeloma, the addition of KEYTRUDA to a thalidomide analogue plus dexamethasone resulted in increased mortality. Treatment of these patients with a programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) or PD-L1 blocking antibody in this combination is not recommended outside of controlled trials.
· Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise women of this potential risk. In females of reproductive potential, verify pregnancy status prior to initiating KEYTRUDA and advise them to use effective contraception during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose.
· In KEYNOTE-006, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 9% of 555 patients with advanced melanoma; adverse reactions leading to permanent discontinuation in more than one patient were colitis (1.4%), autoimmune hepatitis (0.7%), allergic reaction (0.4%), polyneuropathy (0.4%), and cardiac failure (0.4%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA were fatigue (28%), diarrhea (26%), rash (24%), and nausea (21%).
· In KEYNOTE-054, KEYTRUDA was permanently discontinued due to adverse reactions in 14% of 509 patients; the most common (≥1%) were pneumonitis (1.4%), colitis (1.2%), and diarrhea (1%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 25% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA. The most common adverse reaction (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA was diarrhea (28%).
· Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed children, advise women not to breastfeed during treatment and for 4 months after the final dose.
cHL=classical Hodgkin lymphoma.