AsianScientist (Nov.25, 2019) – Pharmaceutical multinational company Merck has announced that its anticancer drug Keytruda has been approved by China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) as monotherapy for the first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The approval by NMPA comes on the back of the findings of KEYNOTE-042, an international, randomized, multi-center, open-label, active-controlled trial in patients with stage III NSCLC who were not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or metastatic NSCLC, and whose tumors expressed PD-L1. PD-L1 is a protein that is known to weaken the antitumor immune response in cancer patients.
“In KEYNOTE-042, Keytruda monotherapy demonstrated a survival benefit, compared with chemotherapy alone, across histologies in patients with either locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC whose tumors expressed PD-L1 in at least one percent of tumor cells,” said Professor Wu Yi-Long, honorary director of the Guangdong Lung Cancer Research Institute and tenured professor of Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital.
He added that new treatment options that can help improve survival outcomes are desperately needed in China, as lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in this country. Keytruda is now the first anti-PD-1 therapy approved in China as both a monotherapy and in combination with chemotherapy in the first-line setting for appropriate patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
Source: Merck; Photo: Shutterstock.
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