The Food and Drug Administration has cleared Keytruda, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, for the treatment of patients with high-risk early-stage triple-negative breast cancer in combination with chemotherapy as neoadjuvant treatment and then continued as a single agent as adjuvant treatment after surgery.
TNBC is an aggressive type of breast cancer with an increased risk for disease recurrence.
With this approval, Keytruda is now approved for 30 indications.
“Even when TNBC is diagnosed early, 30-40% of patients will suffer cancer recurrence after standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy and surgery,” said Dr. Joyce O’Shaughnessy, chair of Breast Cancer Research, Baylor University Medical Center, Texas Oncology, U.S. Oncology, Dallas, Tex. “Therefore, there is a high unmet need for new treatment options. Today’s approval is very welcome news and has the potential to change the treatment paradigm by now including an immunotherapy as part of the regimen for patients with high-risk early-stage TNBC.”
“Triple-negative is a difficult-to-treat type of breast cancer that unfortunately is more common in the U.S. in younger women and in Black women,” said Dr. Vicki Goodman, vice president, clinical research, Merck Research Laboratories. “We are proud to offer a new treatment option for patients faced with this challenging cancer. This neoadjuvant and adjuvant combination with Keytruda is the first immunotherapy regimen to be approved in high-risk early-stage TNBC, marking a meaningful milestone for the breast cancer community.”