Elud­ed by clear suc­cess in esophageal car­ci­no­ma, Mer­ck touts sub­group OS win for Keytru­da

Mer­ck didn’t ex­act­ly get the clean sweep it want­ed to show Keytru­da beats out stan­dard sec­ond-line ther­a­py in esophageal or esoph­a­gogas­tric junc­tion car­ci­no­ma — but the ea­ger phar­ma gi­ant in­sists that there’s cause for cel­e­bra­tion.

In KEYNOTE-181, re­searchers set out to in­ves­ti­gate whether the PD-1 check­point star can im­prove over­all sur­vival com­pared to chemother­a­py. While that’s the case for a sub­group of pa­tients whose tu­mors ex­press PD-L1 (as quan­ti­fied by a com­bined pos­i­tive score, or CPS, of 10 or above), when it came to the en­tire in­ten­tion-to-treat pop­u­la­tion, sta­tis­ti­cal sig­nif­i­cance for OS was not met — mark­ing a key miss in the pri­ma­ry end­point.

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