MSD's KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Becomes the First Immunotherapy, When Used in Combination with Pemetrexed and Chemotherapy, to be Recommended by NICE for NHS England Routine Commissioning for Untreated, Metastatic, Non-Squamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
MSD's KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Becomes the First Immunotherapy,
When Used in Combination with Pemetrexed and Chemotherapy, to be Recommended by NICE for NHS England Routine Commissioning for Untreated, Metastatic, Non-Squamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
LONDON, February 4, 2021 – MSD (tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (NYSE: MRK)) announced today that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy (pembrolizumab combination) as a first-line option for untreated, metastatic, non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults whose tumours have no epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-positive or anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive mutations and whether or not tumours are PD-L1 positive.
New 4 year follow-up data presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer further confirms survival progress for pembrolizumab in combination with pemetrexed and chemotherapy
Clinical evidence collected while pembrolizumab combination was in the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) shows that people having pembrolizumab combination for up to 2 years are likely to live longer than those who have pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy.[i]
NICE’s decision to recommend this regimen for routine use with these patients comes a week after (28 January 2021) updated follow-up data were presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer from the KEYNOTE-189 trial. Dr Riyaz Shah, a Consultant Medical Oncologist at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, said:
“This recommendation from NICE to continue access for patients comes just a week after further data were presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer from a trial involving this regimen, which saw 31% of patients still alive after 3 years vs 17% on standard chemotherapy – a significant change in the outlook for patients with one of the UK’s most deadly cancers.
“Pembrolizumab in combination with chemotherapy regardless of PD-L1 biomarker status has been an important step forward for patients in a disease area where the majority of patients don’t typically survive more than 7-10 months from diagnosis.
“These data for the combination in this group of patients, as well as the KN-024 data presented at last year’s ESMO conference for pembrolizumab alone in certain patients with advanced NSCLC, has meant that pembrolizumab with or without chemotherapy has become a pivotal treatment in the management of patients with advanced NSCLC.”
Before this regimen entered the CDF, late stage metastatic NSCLC patients could only access pembrolizumab contingent on the PD-L1 biomarker status of their tumours. The KEYNOTE-189 trial demonstrated efficacy in both populations with and without PD-L1 expression. Immune related adverse events were consistant with previous trials involving pembrolizumab.[ii]
David Long, Oncology Business Unit Director, MSD added:
“We really welcome this latest decision from NICE to approve the continued use of pembrolizumab in combination with chemotherapy for these lung cancer patients.
“That these patients across the UK are now going to routinely have treatment options irrespective of their PD-L1 biomarker status is important for the patient and clinical community alike. This is yet another example of a successful working relationship between MSD, NICE and NHS England to sustain timely access to the latest innovations in cancer care.
“This is doubly significant at a time when we know, due to the impact of COVID-19 on patient presentation, the system is seeing an increase in the diagnosis of later stage cancers - especially in lung cancer. It is therefore all the more important that clinicians have the best choices available for their patients.”
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation CEO Paula Chadwick also welcomed the news:
“At a time where there has been so much bad news, knowing that more patients will continue to have another life-lengthening treatment option is fantastic, especially in light of such positive results from this latest study presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer.
“There’s no doubt the last year has been incredibly difficult for people with lung cancer, with most continuing to shield and unable to see loved ones. Life-lengthening treatments like this provide hope to so many that we can get through these dark and testing times and reunite with our loved ones again.”