Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that it will stop the Phase 3 KEYLYNK-010 trial investigating KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, in combination with LYNPARZA, a PARP inhibitor, for the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) who progressed after treatment with chemotherapy and either abiraterone acetate or enzalutamide. Merck is discontinuing the study following the recommendation of an independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) after the DMC reviewed data from a planned interim analysis. At the interim analysis, the combination of KEYTRUDA and LYNPARZA did not demonstrate a benefit in overall survival (OS), one of the study’s dual primary endpoints, compared to the control arm of either abiraterone acetate or enzalutamide. The trial’s other dual primary endpoint, radiographic progression free survival (rPFS), was evaluated at an earlier interim analysis and did not demonstrate improvement compared to the control arm. The safety profile of KEYTRUDA in combination with LYNPARZA in this trial was consistent with that observed in previously reported studies for the individual therapies; however, the combination was associated with a higher incidence of grade 3-5 adverse events and drug-related serious adverse events, compared to the control arm. Merck will inform study investigators of the recommendation from the DMC and advise patients in the study to speak to their physician regarding treatment. Data from this study will be presented at an upcoming scientific congress.
“There remains a significant unmet need for patients diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, who have a poor prognosis after not responding to initial therapy,” said Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of global clinical development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories. “Merck continues to evaluate the combination of KEYTRUDA and LYNPARZA in a range of cancers, and to research other KEYTRUDA-based combinations for patients with advanced prostate cancer. We are grateful to the patients, their families and the investigators who made this study possible.”
Merck has an extensive clinical development program in prostate cancer evaluating KEYTRUDA as monotherapy and in combination with LYNPARZA and other anti-cancer therapies. Ongoing trials evaluating KEYTRUDA include the Phase 2 trials KEYNOTE-199 and KEYNOTE-365, and Phase 3 registrational trials KEYNOTE-641, KEYNOTE-921 and KEYNOTE-991. In collaboration with AstraZeneca, Merck is evaluating LYNPARZA in combination with abiraterone in the Phase 3 PROpel trial. KEYLYNK-010 is one of several trials evaluating the combination of KEYTRUDA plus LYNPARZA; in addition to metastatic prostate cancer, this combination is also being studied in advanced lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and triple-negative breast cancer, as well as across solid tumors with certain biomarkers.
About LYNPARZA® (olaparib)
LYNPARZA is a first-in-class PARP inhibitor and the first targeted treatment to potentially exploit DNA damage response (DDR) pathway deficiencies, such as BRCA mutations, to preferentially kill cancer cells. Inhibition of PARP with LYNPARZA leads to the trapping of PARP bound to DNA single-strand breaks, stalling of replication forks, their collapse and the generation of DNA double-strand breaks and cancer cell death. LYNPARZA is being tested in a range of tumor types with defects and dependencies in the DDR.
LYNPARZA, which is being jointly developed and commercialized by AstraZeneca and Merck, has a broad and advanced clinical trial development program, and AstraZeneca and Merck are working together to understand how it may affect multiple PARP-dependent tumors as a monotherapy and in combination across multiple cancer types.
HRR Gene-mutated Metastatic Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer
For the treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline or somatic homologous recombination repair (HRR) gene-mutated metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) who have progressed following prior treatment with enzalutamide or abiraterone. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.
Merck’s Focus on Cancer
Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, the potential to bring new hope to people with cancer drives our purpose and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the potential of immuno-oncology with one of the largest development programs in the industry across more than 30 tumor types. We also continue to strengthen our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and are prioritizing the development of several promising oncology candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced cancers. For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials.
For over 130 years, Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases – as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world.