Merck and Eisai Provide Update on Two Phase 3 Trials Evaluating KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab Plus LENVIMA® (lenvatinib) in Patients With Certain Types of Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, and Eisai today provided updates on two Phase 3 trials, LEAP-006 and LEAP-008, evaluating KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, plus LENVIMA, the orally available multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor discovered by Eisai, in patients with certain types of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
The Phase 3 LEAP-006 trial evaluating KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA in combination with pemetrexed (Alimta®) and platinum-containing chemotherapy versus KEYTRUDA with pemetrexed and platinum-containing chemotherapy, a current standard of care option in this disease setting, as a first-line treatment for adult patients with metastatic, nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have confirmation that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-, anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)- or c-ros oncogene 1 (ROS1)-directed therapies are not indicated, did not meet its dual primary endpoints of overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). At the study’s final analysis, there was no improvement in OS for patients treated with KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA with chemotherapy compared to KEYTRUDA with chemotherapy. Earlier interim analyses did not demonstrate a statistically significant improvement in PFS or objective response rate (ORR), a key secondary endpoint.
The Phase 3 LEAP-008 trial evaluating KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA versus docetaxel, a current second-line standard of care option, as a treatment for patients with metastatic NSCLC who progressed on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy and one prior anti-PD-1/-L1 immunotherapy, and have confirmation that EGFR-, ALK- or ROS1-directed therapies are not indicated, did not meet its dual primary endpoints of OS and PFS. In the final analysis of the study, there was no improvement in OS for patients who received KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA compared to docetaxel. Earlier interim analyses did not demonstrate a statistically significant improvement in PFS or ORR, a key secondary endpoint.
In both the LEAP-006 and LEAP-008 trials, the safety profiles of the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA-based treatment regimens were consistent with that observed in previously reported studies evaluating the combination. A full evaluation of the data from these studies is ongoing. The companies will work with investigators to share the results with the scientific community.
“As a leader in lung cancer research, we continue to try to advance science for our patients by building upon the standard we set several years ago with KEYTRUDA,” said Dr. Gregory Lubiniecki, Vice President, Global Clinical Development, Merck Research Laboratories. “While these results are not what we hoped for, we are proud of the foundational role that KEYTRUDA has established in the treatment of certain types of lung cancer, and we are committed to continuing to research how we can further improve responses to our medicines for patients with difficult-to-treat forms of the disease.
“Despite great progress in recent years, unmet needs still remain in the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, particularly for those without targetable biomarkers,” said Dr. Corina Dutcus, Senior Vice President, of Global Clinical Development, Oncology at Eisai Inc. “KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA has demonstrated a survival benefit in advanced renal cell carcinoma and advanced endometrial carcinoma, and while we are disappointed that the final analyses of these non-small cell lung cancer studies did not show the same benefit, we remain committed to applying learnings from these studies and furthering research in oncology for people with unmet needs. We thank all the patients, their families, and the investigators involved.”
KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA is approved in the U.S., the EU, Japan, and other countries for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and certain types of advanced endometrial carcinoma. Lenvatinib is marketed as KISPLYX for advanced RCC in the EU. Merck and Eisai are studying the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination through the LEAP (LEnvatinib And Pembrolizumab) clinical program in various tumor types, including but not limited to endometrial carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, RCC, head and neck cancer, gastric cancer and esophageal cancer across multiple clinical trials.
Results from the LEAP-006 and LEAP-008 trials do not affect the currently approved indications for the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination or other ongoing trials from the LEAP clinical program.