Positive Opinion Granted for Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma Based on Significant Progression-Free Survival (PFS), Overall Survival (OS) and Objective Response Rate (ORR) Benefit Compared to Sunitinib in CLEAR/KEYNOTE-581 Trial

Positive Opinion Granted for Advanced Endometrial Carcinoma Based on Significant OS and PFS Benefit Compared to Chemotherapy in KEYNOTE-775/Study 309 Trial

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Eisai today announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency has adopted positive opinions recommending approval of the combination of KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, plus LENVIMA (marketed as KISPLYX® in the European Union [EU] for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma [RCC]), the orally available multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor discovered by Eisai, for two different indications. One positive opinion is for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced RCC, and the other is for the treatment of adult patients with advanced or recurrent endometrial carcinoma (EC) who have disease progression on or following prior treatment with a platinum-containing therapy in any setting and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation. Decisions on the CHMP’s recommendations will be given by the European Commission for marketing authorization in the EU, and are expected in the fourth quarter of 2021. If approved, this would be the first combination of an anti-PD-1 therapy with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor approved for the treatment of two different types of cancer in the EU.

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The positive CHMP opinions are based on data from two pivotal Phase 3 trials: CLEAR (Study 307)/KEYNOTE-581 evaluating the combination in adult patients with advanced RCC and KEYNOTE-775/Study 309 evaluating the combination in certain patients with advanced EC.

In CLEAR/KEYNOTE-581, KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA demonstrated statistically significant improvements versus sunitinib in the efficacy outcome measures of overall survival (OS), reducing the risk of death by 34% (HR=0.66 [95% CI, 0.49-0.88]; p=0.0049) versus sunitinib, and progression-free survival (PFS), reducing the risk of disease progression or death by 61% (HR=0.39 [95% CI, 0.32-0.49]; p<0.0001) with a median PFS of 23.9 months versus 9.2 months for sunitinib. Additionally, the confirmed objective response rate was 71% (95% CI: 66-76) (n=252) for patients who received KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA versus 36% with sunitinib (95% CI: 31-41) (n=129).

In KEYNOTE-775/Study 309, KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA demonstrated statistically significant improvements in the study’s dual efficacy outcome measures of OS, reducing the risk of death by 38% (HR=0.62 [95% CI, 0.51-0.75]; p<0.0001) with a median OS of 18.3 months versus 11.4 months for chemotherapy (investigator’s choice of doxorubicin or paclitaxel), and PFS, reducing the risk of disease progression or death by 44% (HR=0.56 [95% CI, 0.47-0.66]; p<0.0001), with a median PFS of 7.2 months versus 3.8 months for chemotherapy (investigator’s choice of doxorubicin or paclitaxel).

“KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA demonstrated a survival benefit for advanced renal cell carcinoma in the first-line setting and represents an important potential new treatment option for these patients. Additionally, KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA is the first anti-PD-1 and tyrosine kinase inhibitor combination to demonstrate a survival benefit in advanced endometrial carcinoma patients, and the benefit was shown regardless of mismatch repair status,” said Dr. Gregory Lubiniecki, Vice President, Clinical Research, Merck Research Laboratories. “We are pleased that the CHMP has recognized the important role of the combination therapy in these difficult-to-treat cancers.”

“We appreciate the positive opinions rendered by the EU CHMP recommending approval of KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA in advanced renal cell carcinoma and advanced endometrial carcinoma, underscoring the potential significance of the outcomes observed in the CLEAR/KEYNOTE-581 and KEYNOTE-775/Study 309 trials,” said Dr. Takashi Owa, President, Oncology Business Group at Eisai. “We are grateful to the patients who participated in these studies, their families and clinicians. Their commitment made these meaningful milestones possible.”

The safety of KEYTRUDA in combination with axitinib or LENVIMA in advanced RCC, and in combination with LENVIMA in advanced EC has been evaluated in a total of 1,456 patients with advanced RCC or advanced EC. In these patient populations, the most frequent adverse reactions were diarrhea (58%), hypertension (54%), hypothyroidism (46%), fatigue (41%), decreased appetite and nausea (40% each), arthralgia (30%), vomiting, weight decreased, dysphonia and abdominal pain (28% each), proteinuria (27%), palmar plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome and rash (26% each), stomatitis and constipation (25% each), musculoskeletal pain and headache (23% each) and cough (21%).

About Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC)

Worldwide, it is estimated there were more than 431,000 new cases of kidney cancer diagnosed and more than 179,000 deaths from the disease in 2020. In Europe, it is estimated there were more than 138,000 new cases of kidney cancer diagnosed and more than 54,000 deaths from the disease in 2020. Renal cell carcinoma is by far the most common type of kidney cancer; about nine out of 10 kidney cancer diagnoses are RCC. Renal cell carcinoma is about twice as common in men as in women. Most cases of RCC are discovered incidentally during imaging tests for other abdominal diseases. Approximately 30% of patients with RCC will have metastatic disease at diagnosis. Survival is highly dependent on the stage at diagnosis, and the five-year survival rate is 13% for patients diagnosed with metastatic disease.

About Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer begins in the inner lining of the uterus, which is known as the endometrium and is the most common type of cancer in the uterus. Worldwide, it was estimated there were more than 417,000 new cases and more than 97,000 deaths from uterine body cancers in 2020 (these estimates include both endometrial cancers and uterine sarcomas; more than 90% of uterine body cancers occur in the endometrium, so the actual numbers for endometrial cancer cases and deaths are slightly lower than these estimates). In Europe, it is estimated there were more than 130,000 new cases and more than 29,000 deaths in 2020. The five-year relative survival rate for metastatic endometrial cancer (stage IV) is estimated to be approximately 17%.

About KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Injection, 100 mg

KEYTRUDA is an anti-programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) therapy that works by increasing the ability of the body’s immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells. KEYTRUDA is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby activating T lymphocytes which may affect both tumor cells and healthy cells.

Merck has the industry’s largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. There are currently more than 1,600 trials studying KEYTRUDA across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand the role of KEYTRUDA across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient's likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including exploring several different biomarkers.

Selected KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Indications in the U.S.

Melanoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph node(s) following complete resection.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with NSCLC expressing PD-L1 [tumor proportion score (TPS) ≥1%] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations, and is:

  • stage III where patients are not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or
  • metastatic.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC whose tumors express PD-L1 (TPS ≥1%) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy. Patients with EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations should have disease progression on FDA-approved therapy for these aberrations prior to receiving KEYTRUDA.

Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with platinum and fluorouracil (FU), is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent HNSCC whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS ≥1)] as determined by an FDA-approved test.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL).

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of pediatric patients with refractory cHL, or cHL that has relapsed after 2 or more lines of therapy.

Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), or who have relapsed after 2 or more prior lines of therapy. KEYTRUDA is not recommended for treatment of patients with PMBCL who require urgent cytoreductive therapy.

Urothelial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC):

  • who are not eligible for any platinum-containing chemotherapy, or
  • who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Non-muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) with carcinoma in situ (CIS) with or without papillary tumors who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) solid tumors that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options.

This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials. The safety and effectiveness of KEYTRUDA in pediatric patients with MSI-H central nervous system cancers have not been established.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient Colorectal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic MSI-H or dMMR colorectal cancer (CRC).

Gastric Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with trastuzumab, fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma.

This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression on or after 2 or more prior lines of therapy including fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy and if appropriate, HER2/neu-targeted therapy.

This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

Esophageal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic esophageal or GEJ (tumors with epicenter 1 to 5 centimeters above the GEJ) carcinoma that is not amenable to surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation either:

  • in combination with platinum- and fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy, or
  • as a single agent after one or more prior lines of systemic therapy for patients with tumors of squamous cell histology that express PD-L1 (CPS ≥10) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

Cervical Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with chemotherapy, with or without bevacizumab, is indicated for the treatment of patients with persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer with disease progression on or after chemotherapy whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

Renal Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA, in combination with axitinib, is indicated for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

KEYTRUDA, in combination with LENVIMA, is indicated for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced RCC.

Endometrial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA, in combination with LENVIMA, is indicated for the treatment of patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not MSI-H or dMMR, who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy in any settings and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation.

Tumor Mutational Burden-High Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic tumor mutational burden-high (TMB-H) [≥10 mutations/megabase] solid tumors, as determined by an FDA-approved test, that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials. The safety and effectiveness of KEYTRUDA in pediatric patients with TMB-H central nervous system cancers have not been established.

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) or locally advanced cSCC that is not curable by surgery or radiation.

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with high-risk early-stage triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in combination with chemotherapy as neoadjuvant treatment, and then continued as a single agent as adjuvant treatment after surgery.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with chemotherapy, is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally recurrent unresectable or metastatic TNBC whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥10) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA

Severe and Fatal Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions

KEYTRUDA is a monoclonal antibody that belongs to a class of drugs that bind to either the PD-1 or the PD-L1, blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, thereby removing inhibition of the immune response, potentially breaking peripheral tolerance and inducing immune-mediated adverse reactions. Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue, can affect more than one body system simultaneously, and can occur at any time after starting treatment or after discontinuation of treatment. Important immune-mediated adverse reactions listed here may not include all possible severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions.

Monitor patients closely for symptoms and signs that may be clinical manifestations of underlying immune-mediated adverse reactions. Early identification and management are essential to ensure safe use of anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments. Evaluate liver enzymes, creatinine, and thyroid function at baseline and periodically during treatment. For patients with TNBC treated with KEYTRUDA in the neoadjuvant setting, monitor blood cortisol at baseline, prior to surgery, and as clinically indicated. In cases of suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, initiate appropriate workup to exclude alternative etiologies, including infection. Institute medical management promptly, including specialty consultation as appropriate.

Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity of the immune-mediated adverse reaction. In general, if KEYTRUDA requires interruption or discontinuation, administer systemic corticosteroid therapy (1 to 2 mg/kg/day prednisone or equivalent) until improvement to Grade 1 or less. Upon improvement to Grade 1 or less, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue to taper over at least 1 month. Consider administration of other systemic immunosuppressants in patients whose adverse reactions are not controlled with corticosteroid therapy.

Immune-Mediated Pneumonitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis. The incidence is higher in patients who have received prior thoracic radiation. Immune-mediated pneumonitis occurred in 3.4% (94/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including fatal (0.1%), Grade 4 (0.3%), Grade 3 (0.9%), and Grade 2 (1.3%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 67% (63/94) of patients. Pneumonitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 1.3% (36) and withholding in 0.9% (26) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, 23% had recurrence. Pneumonitis resolved in 59% of the 94 patients.

Pneumonitis occurred in 8% (31/389) of adult patients with cHL receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-4 in 2.3% of patients. Patients received high-dose corticosteroids for a median duration of 10 days (range: 2 days to 53 months). Pneumonitis rates were similar in patients with and without prior thoracic radiation. Pneumonitis led to discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 5.4% (21) of patients. Of the patients who developed pneumonitis, 42% interrupted KEYTRUDA, 68% discontinued KEYTRUDA, and 77% had resolution.

Immune-Mediated Colitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis, which may present with diarrhea. Cytomegalovirus infection/reactivation has been reported in patients with corticosteroid-refractory immune-mediated colitis. In cases of corticosteroid-refractory colitis, consider repeating infectious workup to exclude alternative etiologies. Immune-mediated colitis occurred in 1.7% (48/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (1.1%), and Grade 2 (0.4%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 69% (33/48); additional immunosuppressant therapy was required in 4.2% of patients. Colitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 0.5% (15) and withholding in 0.5% (13) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, 23% had recurrence. Colitis resolved in 85% of the 48 patients.

Hepatotoxicity and Immune-Mediated Hepatitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Immune-mediated hepatitis occurred in 0.7% (19/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (0.4%), and Grade 2 (0.1%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 68% (13/19) of patients; additional immunosuppressant therapy was required in 11% of patients. Hepatitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 0.2% (6) and withholding in 0.3% (9) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, none had recurrence. Hepatitis resolved in 79% of the 19 patients.

KEYTRUDA with Axitinib

KEYTRUDA in combination with axitinib can cause hepatic toxicity. Monitor liver enzymes before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment. Consider monitoring more frequently as compared to when the drugs are administered as single agents. For elevated liver enzymes, interrupt KEYTRUDA and axitinib, and consider administering corticosteroids as needed. With the combination of KEYTRUDA and axitinib, Grades 3 and 4 increased alanine aminotransferase (20%) and increased aspartate aminotransferase (13%) were seen at a higher frequency compared to KEYTRUDA alone. Fifty-nine percent of the patients with increased ALT received systemic corticosteroids. In patients with ALT ≥3 times upper limit of normal (ULN) (Grades 2-4, n=116), ALT resolved to Grades 0-1 in 94%. Among the 92 patients who were rechallenged with either KEYTRUDA (n=3) or axitinib (n=34) administered as a single agent or with both (n=55), recurrence of ALT ≥3 times ULN was observed in 1 patient receiving KEYTRUDA, 16 patients receiving axitinib, and 24 patients receiving both. All patients with a recurrence of ALT ≥3 ULN subsequently recovered from the event.

Immune-Mediated Endocrinopathies

Adrenal Insufficiency

KEYTRUDA can cause primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency. For Grade 2 or higher, initiate symptomatic treatment, including hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Adrenal insufficiency occurred in 0.8% (22/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (0.3%), and Grade 2 (0.3%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 77% (17/22) of patients; of these, the majority remained on systemic corticosteroids. Adrenal insufficiency led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in <0.1% (1) and withholding in 0.3% (8) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement.

Hypophysitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hypophysitis. Hypophysitis can present with acute symptoms associated with mass effect such as headache, photophobia, or visual field defects. Hypophysitis can cause hypopituitarism. Initiate hormone replacement as indicated. Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Hypophysitis occurred in 0.6% (17/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (0.3%), and Grade 2 (0.2%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 94% (16/17) of patients; of these, the majority remained on systemic corticosteroids. Hypophysitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 0.1% (4) and withholding in 0.3% (7) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement.

Thyroid Disorders

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated thyroid disorders. Thyroiditis can present with or without endocrinopathy. Hypothyroidism can follow hyperthyroidism. Initiate hormone replacement for hypothyroidism or institute medical management of hyperthyroidism as clinically indicated. Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Thyroiditis occurred in 0.6% (16/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.3%). None discontinued, but KEYTRUDA was withheld in <0.1% (1) of patients.

Hyperthyroidism occurred in 3.4% (96/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 3 (0.1%) and Grade 2 (0.8%). It led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in <0.1% (2) and withholding in 0.3% (7) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement. Hypothyroidism occurred in 8% (237/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 3 (0.1%) and Grade 2 (6.2%). It led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in <0.1% (1) and withholding in 0.5% (14) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement. The majority of patients with hypothyroidism required long-term thyroid hormone replacement. The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was higher in 1185 patients with HNSCC, occurring in 16% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent or in combination with platinum and FU, including Grade 3 (0.3%) hypothyroidism. The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was higher in 389 adult patients with cHL (17%) receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grade 1 (6.2%) and Grade 2 (10.8%) hypothyroidism.

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (DM), Which Can Present With Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Monitor patients for hyperglycemia or other signs and symptoms of diabetes. Initiate treatment with insulin as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Type 1 DM occurred in 0.2% (6/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA. It led to permanent discontinuation in <0.1% (1) and withholding of KEYTRUDA in <0.1% (1) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement.

Immune-Mediated Nephritis With Renal Dysfunction

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Immune-mediated nephritis occurred in 0.3% (9/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (0.1%), and Grade 2 (0.1%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 89% (8/9) of patients. Nephritis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 0.1% (3) and withholding in 0.1% (3) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, none had recurrence. Nephritis resolved in 56% of the 9 patients.

Immune-Mediated Dermatologic Adverse Reactions

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated rash or dermatitis. Exfoliative dermatitis, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome, drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms, and toxic epidermal necrolysis, has occurred with anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments. Topical emollients and/or topical corticosteroids may be adequate to treat mild to moderate nonexfoliative rashes. Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Immune-mediated dermatologic adverse reactions occurred in 1.4% (38/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 3 (1%) and Grade 2 (0.1%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 40% (15/38) of patients. These reactions led to permanent discontinuation in 0.1% (2) and withholding of KEYTRUDA in 0.6% (16) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, 6% had recurrence. The reactions resolved in 79% of the 38 patients.

Other Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions

The following clinically significant immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred at an incidence of <1% (unless otherwise noted) in patients who received KEYTRUDA or were reported with the use of other anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments. Severe or fatal cases have been reported for some of these adverse reactions. Cardiac/Vascular: Myocarditis, pericarditis, vasculitis; Nervous System: Meningitis, encephalitis, myelitis and demyelination, myasthenic syndrome/myasthenia gravis (including exacerbation), Guillain-Barré syndrome, nerve paresis, autoimmune neuropathy; Ocular: Uveitis, iritis and other ocular inflammatory toxicities can occur. Some cases can be associated with retinal detachment. Various grades of visual impairment, including blindness, can occur. If uveitis occurs in combination with other immune-mediated adverse reactions, consider a Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome, as this may require treatment with systemic steroids to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss; Gastrointestinal: Pancreatitis, to include increases in serum amylase and lipase levels, gastritis, duodenitis; Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue: Myositis/polymyositis, rhabdomyolysis (and associated sequelae, including renal failure), arthritis (1.5%), polymyalgia rheumatica; Endocrine: Hypoparathyroidism; Hematologic/Immune: Hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome, histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis (Kikuchi lymphadenitis), sarcoidosis, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, solid organ transplant rejection.

Infusion-Related Reactions

KEYTRUDA can cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions, including hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis, which have been reported in 0.2% of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA. Monitor for signs and symptoms of infusion-related reactions. Interrupt or slow the rate of infusion for Grade 1 or Grade 2 reactions. For Grade 3 or Grade 4 reactions, stop infusion and permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA.

Complications of Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT)

Fatal and other serious complications can occur in patients who receive allogeneic HSCT before or after anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatment. Transplant-related complications include hyperacute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), acute and chronic GVHD, hepatic veno-occlusive disease after reduced intensity conditioning, and steroid-requiring febrile syndrome (without an identified infectious cause). These complications may occur despite intervening therapy between anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatment and allogeneic HSCT. Follow patients closely for evidence of these complications and intervene promptly. Consider the benefit vs risks of using anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments prior to or after an allogeneic HSCT.

Increased Mortality in Patients With Multiple Myeloma

In trials in patients with multiple myeloma, the addition of KEYTRUDA to a thalidomide analogue plus dexamethasone resulted in increased mortality. Treatment of these patients with an anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatment in this combination is not recommended outside of controlled trials.

Embryofetal Toxicity

Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise women of this potential risk. In females of reproductive potential, verify pregnancy status prior to initiating KEYTRUDA and advise them to use effective contraception during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose.

Adverse Reactions

In KEYNOTE-006, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 9% of 555 patients with advanced melanoma; adverse reactions leading to permanent discontinuation in more than one patient were colitis (1.4%), autoimmune hepatitis (0.7%), allergic reaction (0.4%), polyneuropathy (0.4%), and cardiac failure (0.4%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA were fatigue (28%), diarrhea (26%), rash (24%), and nausea (21%).

In KEYNOTE-054, KEYTRUDA was permanently discontinued due to adverse reactions in 14% of 509 patients; the most common (≥1%) were pneumonitis (1.4%), colitis (1.2%), and diarrhea (1%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 25% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA. The most common adverse reaction (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA was diarrhea (28%).

In KEYNOTE-189, when KEYTRUDA was administered with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy in metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 20% of 405 patients. The most common adverse reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA were pneumonitis (3%) and acute kidney injury (2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA were nausea (56%), fatigue (56%), constipation (35%), diarrhea (31%), decreased appetite (28%), rash (25%), vomiting (24%), cough (21%), dyspnea (21%), and pyrexia (20%).

In KEYNOTE-407, when KEYTRUDA was administered with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound in metastatic squamous NSCLC, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 15% of 101 patients. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were febrile neutropenia, pneumonia, and urinary tract infection. Adverse reactions observed in KEYNOTE-407 were similar to those observed in KEYNOTE-189 with the exception that increased incidences of alopecia (47% vs 36%) and peripheral neuropathy (31% vs 25%) were observed in the KEYTRUDA and chemotherapy arm compared to the placebo and chemotherapy arm in KEYNOTE-407.

In KEYNOTE-042, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 19% of 636 patients with advanced NSCLC; the most common were pneumonitis (3%), death due to unknown cause (1.6%), and pneumonia (1.4%). The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were pneumonia (7%), pneumonitis (3.9%), pulmonary embolism (2.4%), and pleural effusion (2.2%). The most common adverse reaction (≥20%) was fatigue (25%).

In KEYNOTE-010, KEYTRUDA monotherapy was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 682 patients with metastatic NSCLC; the most common was pneumonitis (1.8%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were decreased appetite (25%), fatigue (25%), dyspnea (23%), and nausea (20%).

In KEYNOTE-048, KEYTRUDA monotherapy was discontinued due to adverse events in 12% of 300 patients with HNSCC; the most common adverse reactions leading to permanent discontinuation were sepsis (1.7%) and pneumonia (1.3%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (33%), constipation (20%), and rash (20%).

In KEYNOTE-048, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with platinum (cisplatin or carboplatin) and FU chemotherapy, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 16% of 276 patients with HNSCC. The most common adverse reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA were pneumonia (2.5%), pneumonitis (1.8%), and septic shock (1.4%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were nausea (51%), fatigue (49%), constipation (37%), vomiting (32%), mucosal inflammation (31%), diarrhea (29%), decreased appetite (29%), stomatitis (26%), and cough (22%).

In KEYNOTE-012, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 17% of 192 patients with HNSCC. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 45% of patients. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were pneumonia, dyspnea, confusional state, vomiting, pleural effusion, and respiratory failure. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue, decreased appetite, and dyspnea. Adverse reactions occurring in patients with HNSCC were generally similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy, with the exception of increased incidences of facial edema and new or worsening hypothyroidism.

In KEYNOTE-204, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 14% of 148 patients with cHL. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 30% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA; those ≥1% were pneumonitis, pneumonia, pyrexia, myocarditis, acute kidney injury, febrile neutropenia, and sepsis. Three patients died from causes other than disease progression: 2 from complications after allogeneic HSCT and 1 from unknown cause. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were upper respiratory tract infection (41%), musculoskeletal pain (32%), diarrhea (22%), and pyrexia, fatigue, rash, and cough (20% each).

In KEYNOTE-087, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 5% of 210 patients with cHL. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 16% of patients; those ≥1% were pneumonia, pneumonitis, pyrexia, dyspnea, GVHD, and herpes zoster. Two patients died from causes other than disease progression: 1 from GVHD after subsequent allogeneic HSCT and 1 from septic shock. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (26%), pyrexia (24%), cough (24%), musculoskeletal pain (21%), diarrhea (20%), and rash (20%).

In KEYNOTE-170, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 53 patients with PMBCL. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 26% of patients and included arrhythmia (4%), cardiac tamponade (2%), myocardial infarction (2%), pericardial effusion (2%), and pericarditis (2%). Six (11%) patients died within 30 days of start of treatment. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were musculoskeletal pain (30%), upper respiratory tract infection and pyrexia (28% each), cough (26%), fatigue (23%), and dyspnea (21%).

In KEYNOTE-052, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 11% of 370 patients with locally advanced or mUC. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 42% of patients; those ≥2% were urinary tract infection, hematuria, acute kidney injury, pneumonia, and urosepsis. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (38%), musculoskeletal pain (24%), decreased appetite (22%), constipation (21%), rash (21%), and diarrhea (20%).

In KEYNOTE-045, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 266 patients with locally advanced or mUC. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was pneumonitis (1.9%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of KEYTRUDA-treated patients; those ≥2% were urinary tract infection, pneumonia, anemia, and pneumonitis. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients who received KEYTRUDA were fatigue (38%), musculoskeletal pain (32%), pruritus (23%), decreased appetite (21%), nausea (21%), and rash (20%).

In KEYNOTE-057, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 11% of 148 patients with high-risk NMIBC. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was pneumonitis (1.4%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 28% of patients; those ≥2% were pneumonia (3%), cardiac ischemia (2%), colitis (2%), pulmonary embolism (2%), sepsis (2%), and urinary tract infection (2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (29%), diarrhea (24%), and rash (24%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with MSI-H or dMMR CRC were similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy.

In KEYNOTE-811, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with trastuzumab, fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 6% of 217 patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2+ gastric or GEJ adenocarcinoma. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation was pneumonitis (1.4%). In the KEYTRUDA arm versus placebo, there was a difference of ≥5% incidence between patients treated with KEYTRUDA versus standard of care for diarrhea (53% vs 44%) and nausea (49% vs 44%).

The most common adverse reactions (reported in ≥20%) in patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy were fatigue/asthenia, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, decreased appetite, rash, vomiting, cough, dyspnea, pyrexia, alopecia, peripheral neuropathy, mucosal inflammation, stomatitis, headache, weight loss, abdominal pain, arthralgia, myalgia, and insomnia.

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with gastric cancer who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy were similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy.

In KEYNOTE-590, when KEYTRUDA was administered with cisplatin and fluorouracil to patients with metastatic or locally advanced esophageal or GEJ (tumors with epicenter 1 to 5 centimeters above the GEJ) carcinoma who were not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 15% of 370 patients. The most common adverse reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA (≥1%) were pneumonitis (1.6%), acute kidney injury (1.1%), and pneumonia (1.1%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy were nausea (67%), fatigue (57%), decreased appetite (44%), constipation (40%), diarrhea (36%), vomiting (34%), stomatitis (27%), and weight loss (24%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with esophageal cancer who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy were similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy.

In KEYNOTE-826, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with paclitaxel and cisplatin or paclitaxel and carboplatin, with or without bevacizumab regardless of tumor PD-L1 expression (n=307), to patients with persistent, recurrent, or first-line metastatic cervical cancer who had not been treated with chemotherapy except when used concurrently as a radio-sensitizing agent, fatal adverse reactions occurred in 4.6% of patients, including 3 cases of hemorrhage, 2 cases each of sepsis and due to unknown causes, and 1 case each of acute myocardial infarction, autoimmune encephalitis, cardiac arrest, cerebrovascular accident, femur fraction with perioperative pulmonary embolus, intestinal perforation, and pelvic infection. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 50% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy with or without bevacizumab; those ≥3% were febrile neutropenia (6.8%), urinary tract infection (5.2%), anemia (4.6%), and acute kidney injury and sepsis (3.3% each).

KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 15% of patients due to adverse reactions. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation (≥1%) was colitis (1%).

For patients treated with KEYTRUDA, chemotherapy, and bevacizumab (n=196), the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were peripheral neuropathy (62%), alopecia (58%), anemia (55%), fatigue/asthenia (53%), nausea and neutropenia (41% each), diarrhea (39%), hypertension and thrombocytopenia (35% each), constipation and arthralgia (31% each), vomiting (30%), urinary tract infection (27%), rash (26%), leukopenia (24%), hypothyroidism (22%), and decreased appetite (21%).

For patients treated with KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy with or without bevacizumab, the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were peripheral neuropathy (58%), alopecia (56%), fatigue (47%), nausea (40%), diarrhea (36%), constipation (28%), arthralgia (27%), vomiting (26%), hypertension and urinary tract infection (24% each), and rash (22%).

In KEYNOTE-158, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 98 patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA; the most frequent included anemia (7%), fistula, hemorrhage, and infections [except urinary tract infections] (4.1% each). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (43%), musculoskeletal pain (27%), diarrhea (23%), pain and abdominal pain (22% each), and decreased appetite (21%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with HCC were generally similar to those in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy, with the exception of increased incidences of ascites (8% Grades 3-4) and immune-mediated hepatitis (2.9%). Laboratory abnormalities (Grades 3-4) that occurred at a higher incidence were elevated AST (20%), ALT (9%), and hyperbilirubinemia (10%).

Among the 50 patients with MCC enrolled in study KEYNOTE-017, adverse reactions occurring in patients with MCC were generally similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy. Laboratory abnormalities (Grades 3-4) that occurred at a higher incidence were elevated AST (11%) and hyperglycemia (19%).

In KEYNOTE-426, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with axitinib, fatal adverse reactions occurred in 3.3% of 429 patients. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 40% of patients, the most frequent (≥1%) were hepatotoxicity (7%), diarrhea (4.2%), acute kidney injury (2.3%), dehydration (1%), and pneumonitis (1%). Permanent discontinuation due to an adverse reaction occurred in 31% of patients; KEYTRUDA only (13%), axitinib only (13%), and the combination (8%); the most common were hepatotoxicity (13%), diarrhea/colitis (1.9%), acute kidney injury (1.6%), and cerebrovascular accident (1.2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were diarrhea (56%), fatigue/asthenia (52%), hypertension (48%), hepatotoxicity (39%), hypothyroidism (35%), decreased appetite (30%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (28%), nausea (28%), stomatitis/mucosal inflammation (27%), dysphonia (25%), rash (25%), cough (21%), and constipation (21%).

In KEYNOTE-581, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with LENVIMA to patients with advanced renal carcinoma (n=352), fatal adverse reactions occurred in 4.3% of patients. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 51% of patients, the most common (≥2%) were hemorrhagic events (5%), diarrhea (4%), hypertension (3%), myocardial infarction, pneumonitis, and vomiting (3% each), acute kidney injury, adrenal insufficiency, dyspnea, and pneumonia (2% each).

Permanent discontinuation of either of KEYTRUDA, LENVIMA, or both due to an adverse reaction occurred in 37% of patients; 29% KEYTRUDA only, 26% lenvatinib only, and 13% both. The most common adverse reactions (≥2%) resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA, LENVIMA, or the combination were pneumonitis (3%), myocardial infarction, hepatotoxicity, acute kidney injury, and rash (3% each), and diarrhea (2%).

The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) observed with KEYTRUDA in combination with LENVIMA were fatigue (63%), diarrhea (62%), musculoskeletal disorders (58%), hypothyroidism (57%), hypertension (56%), stomatitis (43%), decreased appetite (41%), rash (37%), nausea (36%), weight loss, dysphonia and proteinuria (30% each), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome (29%), abdominal pain and hemorrhagic events (27% each), vomiting (26%), constipation and hepatotoxicity (25% each), headache (23%), and acute kidney injury (21%).

In KEYNOTE-775, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with LENVIMA to patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that were not MSI-H or dMMR (n=342), fatal adverse reactions occurred in 4.7% of patients. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 50% of these patients; the most common (≥3%) were hypertension (4.4%) and urinary tract infections (3.2%).

Discontinuation of KEYTRUDA, due to an adverse reaction occurred in 15% of these patients. The most common adverse reaction leading to discontinuation of KEYTRUDA (≥1%) was increased ALT (1.2%).

The most common adverse reactions for KEYTRUDA in combination with LENVIMA (reported in ≥20% patients) were hypothyroidism and hypertension (67% each), fatigue (58%), diarrhea (55%), musculoskeletal disorders (53%), nausea (49%), decreased appetite (44%), vomiting (37%), stomatitis (35%), abdominal pain and weight loss (34% each), urinary tract infections (31%), proteinuria (29%), constipation (27%), headache (26%), hemorrhagic events (25%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (23%), dysphonia (22%), and rash (20%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with TMB-H cancer were similar to those occurring in patients with other solid tumors who received KEYTRUDA as a single agent.

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with recurrent or metastatic cSCC or locally advanced cSCC were similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy.

In KEYNOTE-522, when KEYTRUDA was administered with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (carboplatin and paclitaxel followed by doxorubicin or epirubicin and cyclophosphamide) followed by surgery and continued adjuvant treatment with KEYTRUDA as a single agent (n=778) to patients with newly diagnosed, previously untreated, high-risk early-stage TNBC, fatal adverse reactions occurred in 0.9% of patients, including 1 each of adrenal crisis, autoimmune encephalitis, hepatitis, pneumonia, pneumonitis, pulmonary embolism, and sepsis in association with multiple organ dysfunction syndrome and myocardial infarction. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 44% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA; those ≥2% were febrile neutropenia (15%), pyrexia (3.7%), anemia (2.6%), and neutropenia (2.2%). KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 20% of patients due to adverse reactions. The most common reactions (≥1%) resulting in permanent discontinuation were increased ALT (2.7%), increased AST (1.5%), and rash (1%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients receiving KEYTRUDA were fatigue (70%), nausea (67%), alopecia (61%), rash (52%), constipation (42%), diarrhea and peripheral neuropathy (41% each), stomatitis (34%), vomiting (31%), headache (30%), arthralgia (29%), pyrexia (28%), cough (26%), abdominal pain (24%), decreased appetite (23%), insomnia (21%), and myalgia (20%).

In KEYNOTE-355, when KEYTRUDA and chemotherapy (paclitaxel, paclitaxel protein-bound, or gemcitabine and carboplatin) were administered to patients with locally recurrent unresectable or metastatic TNBC who had not been previously treated with chemotherapy in the metastatic setting (n=596), fatal adverse reactions occurred in 2.5% of patients, including cardio-respiratory arrest (0.7%) and septic shock (0.3%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 30% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy; the serious reactions in ≥2% were pneumonia (2.9%), anemia (2.2%), and thrombocytopenia (2%). KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 11% of patients due to adverse reactions. The most common reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation (≥1%) were increased ALT (2.2%), increased AST (1.5%), and pneumonitis (1.2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy were fatigue (48%), nausea (44%), alopecia (34%), diarrhea and constipation (28% each), vomiting and rash (26% each), cough (23%), decreased appetite (21%), and headache (20%).

Lactation

Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed children, advise women not to breastfeed during treatment and for 4 months after the final dose.

Pediatric Use

In KEYNOTE-051, 161 pediatric patients (62 pediatric patients aged 6 months to younger than 12 years and 99 pediatric patients aged 12 years to 17 years) were administered KEYTRUDA 2 mg/kg every 3 weeks. The median duration of exposure was 2.1 months (range: 1 day to 24 months).

Adverse reactions that occurred at a ≥10% higher rate in pediatric patients when compared to adults were pyrexia (33%), vomiting (30%), leukopenia (30%), upper respiratory tract infection (29%), neutropenia (26%), headache (25%), and Grade 3 anemia (17%).

Please see Prescribing Information for KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_pi.pdf and Medication Guide for KEYTRUDA at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_mg.pdf.

About LENVIMA® (lenvatinib); available as 10 mg and 4 mg capsules

LENVIMA, discovered and developed by Eisai, is a multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor that inhibits the kinase activities of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors VEGFR1 (FLT1), VEGFR2 (KDR), and VEGFR3 (FLT4). LENVIMA inhibits other kinases that have been implicated in pathogenic angiogenesis, tumor growth, and cancer progression in addition to their normal cellular functions, including fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors FGFR1-4, the platelet derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRα), KIT, and RET. The combination of LENVIMA and everolimus showed increased anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor activity as demonstrated by decreased human endothelial cell proliferation, tube formation, and VEGF signaling in vitro and tumor volume in mouse xenograft models of human renal cell cancer greater than each drug alone. In syngeneic mouse tumor models, the combination of lenvatinib with an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody decreased tumor-associated macrophages, increased activated cytotoxic T cells, and demonstrated greater antitumor activity compared to either treatment alone.

LENVIMA® (lenvatinib) Indications in the U.S.

  • For the treatment of patients with locally recurrent or metastatic, progressive, radioactive iodine-refractory differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC)
  • In combination with KEYTRUDA, for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC)
  • In combination with everolimus, for the treatment of adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) following one prior anti-angiogenic therapy
  • For the first-line treatment of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
  • In combination with KEYTRUDA, for the treatment of patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma (EC) that is not microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR), who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy in any setting and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation.

Selected Safety Information for LENVIMA

Warnings and Precautions

Hypertension. In DTC (differentiated thyroid cancer), hypertension occurred in 73% of patients on LENVIMA (44% grade 3-4). In RCC (renal cell carcinoma), hypertension occurred in 42% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus (13% grade 3). Systolic blood pressure ≥160 mmHg occurred in 29% of patients, and 21% had diastolic blood pressure ≥100 mmHg. In HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma), hypertension occurred in 45% of LENVIMA-treated patients (24% grade 3). Grade 4 hypertension was not reported in HCC.

Serious complications of poorly controlled hypertension have been reported. Control blood pressure prior to initiation. Monitor blood pressure after 1 week, then every 2 weeks for the first 2 months, and then at least monthly thereafter during treatment. Withhold and resume at reduced dose when hypertension is controlled or permanently discontinue based on severity.

Cardiac Dysfunction. Serious and fatal cardiac dysfunction can occur with LENVIMA. Across clinical trials in 799 patients with DTC, RCC, and HCC, grade 3 or higher cardiac dysfunction occurred in 3% of LENVIMA-treated patients. Monitor for clinical symptoms or signs of cardiac dysfunction. Withhold and resume at reduced dose upon recovery or permanently discontinue based on severity.

Arterial Thromboembolic Events. Among patients receiving LENVIMA or LENVIMA + everolimus, arterial thromboembolic events of any severity occurred in 2% of patients in RCC and HCC and 5% in DTC. Grade 3-5 arterial thromboembolic events ranged from 2% to 3% across all clinical trials.

Among patients receiving LENVIMA with pembrolizumab, arterial thrombotic events of any severity occurred in 5% of patients in CLEAR, including myocardial infarction (3.4%) and cerebrovascular accident (2.3%).

Permanently discontinue following an arterial thrombotic event. The safety of resuming after an arterial thromboembolic event has not been established, and LENVIMA has not been studied in patients who have had an arterial thromboembolic event within the previous 6 months.

Hepatotoxicity. Across clinical studies enrolling 1327 LENVIMA-treated patients with malignancies other than HCC, serious hepatic adverse reactions occurred in 1.4% of patients. Fatal events, including hepatic failure, acute hepatitis and hepatorenal syndrome, occurred in 0.5% of patients. In HCC, hepatic encephalopathy occurred in 8% of LENVIMA-treated patients (5% grade 3-5). Grade 3-5 hepatic failure occurred in 3% of LENVIMA-treated patients; 2% of patients discontinued LENVIMA due to hepatic encephalopathy, and 1% discontinued due to hepatic failure.

Monitor liver function prior to initiation, then every 2 weeks for the first 2 months, and at least monthly thereafter during treatment. Monitor patients with HCC closely for signs of hepatic failure, including hepatic encephalopathy. Withhold and resume at reduced dose upon recovery or permanently discontinue based on severity.

Renal Failure or Impairment. Serious including fatal renal failure or impairment can occur with LENVIMA. Renal impairment was reported in 14% and 7% of LENVIMA-treated patients in DTC and HCC, respectively. Grade 3-5 renal failure or impairment occurred in 3% of patients with DTC and 2% of patients with HCC, including 1 fatal event in each study. In RCC, renal impairment or renal failure was reported in 18% of LENVIMA + everolimus–treated patients (10% grade 3).

Initiate prompt management of diarrhea or dehydration/hypovolemia. Withhold and resume at reduced dose upon recovery or permanently discontinue for renal failure or impairment based on severity.

Proteinuria. In DTC and HCC, proteinuria was reported in 34% and 26% of LENVIMA-treated patients, respectively. Grade 3 proteinuria occurred in 11% and 6% in DTC and HCC, respectively. In RCC, proteinuria occurred in 31% of patients receiving LENVIMA + everolimus (8% grade 3). Monitor for proteinuria prior to initiation and periodically during treatment. If urine dipstick proteinuria ≥2+ is detected, obtain a 24-hour urine protein. Withhold and resume at reduced dose upon recovery or permanently discontinue based on severity.

Diarrhea. Of the 737 LENVIMA-treated patients in DTC and HCC, diarrhea occurred in 49% (6% grade 3). In RCC, diarrhea occurred in 81% of LENVIMA + everolimus–treated patients (19% grade 3). Diarrhea was the most frequent cause of dose interruption/reduction, and diarrhea recurred despite dose reduction. Promptly initiate management of diarrhea. Withhold and resume at reduced dose upon recovery or permanently discontinue based on severity.

Fistula Formation and Gastrointestinal Perforation. Of the 799 patients treated with LENVIMA or LENVIMA + everolimus in DTC, RCC, and HCC, fistula or gastrointestinal perforation occurred in 2%. Permanently discontinue in patients who develop gastrointestinal perforation of any severity or grade 3-4 fistula.

QT Interval Prolongation. In DTC, QT/QTc interval prolongation occurred in 9% of LENVIMA-treated patients and QT interval prolongation of >500 ms occurred in 2%. In RCC, QTc interval increases of >60 ms occurred in 11% of patients receiving LENVIMA + everolimus and QTc interval >500 ms occurred in 6%. In HCC, QTc interval increases of >60 ms occurred in 8% of LENVIMA-treated patients and QTc interval >500 ms occurred in 2%.

Monitor and correct electrolyte abnormalities at baseline and periodically during treatment. Monitor electrocardiograms in patients with congenital long QT syndrome, congestive heart failure, bradyarrhythmias, or those who are taking drugs known to prolong the QT interval, including Class Ia and III antiarrhythmics. Withhold and resume at reduced dose upon recovery based on severity.

Hypocalcemia. In DTC, grade 3-4 hypocalcemia occurred in 9% of LENVIMA-treated patients. In 65% of cases, hypocalcemia improved or resolved following calcium supplementation with or without dose interruption or dose reduction. In RCC, grade 3-4 hypocalcemia occurred in 6% of LENVIMA + everolimus–treated patients. In HCC, grade 3 hypocalcemia occurred in 0.8% of LENVIMA-treated patients. Monitor blood calcium levels at least monthly and replace calcium as necessary during treatment. Withhold and resume at reduced dose upon recovery or permanently discontinue depending on severity.

Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome (RPLS). Across clinical studies of 1823 patients who received LENVIMA as a single agent, RPLS occurred in 0.3%. Confirm diagnosis of RPLS with MRI. Withhold and resume at reduced dose upon recovery or permanently discontinue depending on severity and persistence of neurologic symptoms.

Hemorrhagic Events. Serious including fatal hemorrhagic events can occur with LENVIMA. In DTC, RCC, and HCC clinical trials, hemorrhagic events, of any grade, occurred in 29% of the 799 patients treated with LENVIMA as a single agent or in combination with everolimus. The most frequently reported hemorrhagic events (all grades and occurring in at least 5% of patients) were epistaxis and hematuria. In DTC, grade 3-5 hemorrhage occurred in 2% of LENVIMA-treated patients, including 1 fatal intracranial hemorrhage among 16 patients who received LENVIMA and had CNS metastases at baseline. In RCC, grade 3-5 hemorrhage occurred in 8% of LENVIMA + everolimus–treated patients, including 1 fatal cerebral hemorrhage. In HCC, grade 3-5 hemorrhage occurred in 5% of LENVIMA-treated patients, including 7 fatal hemorrhagic events. Serious tumor-related bleeds, including fatal hemorrhagic events, occurred in LENVIMA-treated patients in clinical trials and in the postmarketing setting. In postmarketing surveillance, serious and fatal carotid artery hemorrhages were seen more frequently in patients with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) than other tumors. Safety and effectiveness of LENVIMA in patients with ATC have not been demonstrated in clinical trials.

Consider the risk of severe or fatal hemorrhage associated with tumor invasion or infiltration of major blood vessels (eg, carotid artery). Withhold and resume at reduced dose upon recovery or permanently discontinue based on severity.

Impairment of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Suppression/Thyroid Dysfunction. LENVIMA impairs exogenous thyroid suppression. In DTC, 88% of patients had baseline thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level ≤0.5 mU/L. In patients with normal TSH at baseline, elevation of TSH level >0.5 mU/L was observed post baseline in 57% of LENVIMA-treated patients. In RCC and HCC, grade 1 or 2 hypothyroidism occurred in 24% of LENVIMA + everolimus–treated patients and 21% of LENVIMA-treated patients, respectively. In patients with normal or low TSH at baseline, elevation of TSH was observed post baseline in 70% of LENVIMA-treated patients in HCC and 60% of LENVIMA + everolimus–treated patients in RCC.

Monitor thyroid function prior to initiation and at least monthly during treatment. Treat hypothyroidism according to standard medical practice.

Impaired Wound Healing. Impaired wound healing has been reported in patients who received LENVIMA. Withhold LENVIMA for at least 1 week prior to elective surgery. Do not administer for at least 2 weeks following major surgery and until adequate wound healing. The safety of resumption of LENVIMA after resolution of wound healing complications has not been established.

Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ). ONJ has been reported in patients receiving LENVIMA. Concomitant exposure to other risk factors, such as bisphosphonates, denosumab, dental disease, or invasive dental procedures, may increase the risk of ONJ.

Perform an oral examination prior to treatment with LENVIMA and periodically during LENVIMA treatment. Advise patients regarding good oral hygiene practices and to consider having preventive dentistry performed prior to treatment with LENVIMA and throughout treatment with LENVIMA.

Avoid invasive dental procedures, if possible, while on LENVIMA treatment, particularly in patients at higher risk. Withhold LENVIMA for at least 1 week prior to scheduled dental surgery or invasive dental procedures, if possible. For patients requiring invasive dental procedures, discontinuation of bisphosphonate treatment may reduce the risk of ONJ.

Withhold LENVIMA if ONJ develops and restart based on clinical judgement of adequate resolution.

Embryo‐Fetal Toxicity. Based on its mechanism of action and data from animal reproduction studies, LENVIMA can cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant women. In animal reproduction studies, oral administration of lenvatinib during organogenesis at doses below the recommended clinical doses resulted in embryotoxicity, fetotoxicity, and teratogenicity in rats and rabbits. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus and advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with LENVIMA and for at least 30 days after the last dose.

Adverse Reactions

In DTC, the most common adverse reactions (≥30%) observed in LENVIMA-treated patients were hypertension (73%), fatigue (67%), diarrhea (67%), arthralgia/myalgia (62%), decreased appetite (54%), decreased weight (51%), nausea (47%), stomatitis (41%), headache (38%), vomiting (36%), proteinuria (34%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome (32%), abdominal pain (31%), and dysphonia (31%). The most common serious adverse reactions (≥2%) were pneumonia (4%), hypertension (3%), and dehydration (3%). Adverse reactions led to dose reductions in 68% of LENVIMA-treated patients; 18% discontinued LENVIMA. The most common adverse reactions (≥10%) resulting in dose reductions were hypertension (13%), proteinuria (11%), decreased appetite (10%), and diarrhea (10%); the most common adverse reactions (≥1%) resulting in discontinuation of LENVIMA were hypertension (1%) and asthenia (1%).

In RCC, the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) observed in LENVIMA + pembrolizumab-treated patients were fatigue (63%), diarrhea (62%), musculoskeletal pain (58%), hypothyroidism (57%), hypertension (56%), stomatitis (43%), decreased appetite (41%), rash (37%), nausea (36%), decreased weight (30%), dysphonia (30%), proteinuria (30%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome (29%), abdominal pain (27%), hemorrhagic events (27%), vomiting (26%), constipation (25%), hepatotoxicity (25%), headache (23%), and acute kidney injury (21%). The most common serious adverse reactions (≥2%) were hemorrhagic events (5%), diarrhea (4%), hypertension (3%), myocardial infarction (3%), pneumonitis (3%), vomiting (3%), acute kidney injury (2%), adrenal insufficiency (2%), dyspnea (2%), and pneumonia (2%).

Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 4.3% of patients receiving LENVIMA in combination with pembrolizumab, including cardio-respiratory arrest (0.9%), sepsis (0.9%), and one case (0.3%) each of arrhythmia, autoimmune hepatitis, dyspnea, hypertensive crisis, increased blood creatinine, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, myasthenic syndrome, myocarditis, nephritis, pneumonitis, ruptured aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Serious adverse reactions occurred in 51% of patients receiving LENVIMA and pembrolizumab. Serious adverse reactions in ≥2% of patients were hemorrhagic events (5%), diarrhea (4%), hypertension (3%), myocardial infarction (3%), pneumonitis (3%), vomiting (3%), acute kidney injury (2%), adrenal insufficiency (2%), dyspnea (2%), and pneumonia (2%).

Permanent discontinuation of LENVIMA, pembrolizumab, or both due to an adverse reaction occurred in 37% of patients; 26% LENVIMA only, 29% pembrolizumab only, and 13% both drugs. The most common adverse reactions (≥2%) leading to permanent discontinuation of LENVIMA, pembrolizumab, or both were pneumonitis (3%), myocardial infarction (3%), hepatotoxicity (3%), acute kidney injury (3%), rash (3%), and diarrhea (2%).

Dose interruptions of LENVIMA, pembrolizumab, or both due to an adverse reaction occurred in 78% of patients receiving LENVIMA in combination with pembrolizumab. LENVIMA was interrupted in 73% of patients and both drugs were interrupted in 39% of patients. LENVIMA was dose reduced in 69% of patients. The most common adverse reactions (≥5%) resulting in dose reduction or interruption of LENVIMA were diarrhea (26%), fatigue (18%), hypertension (17%), proteinuria (13%), decreased appetite (12%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (11%), nausea (9%), stomatitis (9%), musculoskeletal pain (8%), rash (8%), increased lipase (7%), abdominal pain (6%), and vomiting (6%), increased ALT (5%), and increased amylase (5%).

In RCC, the most common adverse reactions (≥30%) observed in LENVIMA + everolimus–treated patients were diarrhea (81%), fatigue (73%), arthralgia/myalgia (55%), decreased appetite (53%), vomiting (48%), nausea (45%), stomatitis (44%), hypertension (42%), peripheral edema (42%), cough (37%), abdominal pain (37%), dyspnea (35%), rash (35%), decreased weight (34%), hemorrhagic events (32%), and proteinuria (31%). The most common serious adverse reactions (≥5%) were renal failure (11%), dehydration (10%), anemia (6%), thrombocytopenia (5%), diarrhea (5%), vomiting (5%), and dyspnea (5%). Adverse reactions led to dose reductions or interruption in 89% of patients. The most common adverse reactions (≥5%) resulting in dose reductions were diarrhea (21%), fatigue (8%), thrombocytopenia (6%), vomiting (6%), nausea (5%), and proteinuria (5%). Treatment discontinuation due to an adverse reaction occurred in 29% of patients.

In HCC, the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) observed in LENVIMA-treated patients were hypertension (45%), fatigue (44%), diarrhea (39%), decreased appetite (34%), arthralgia/myalgia (31%), decreased weight (31%), abdominal pain (30%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome (27%), proteinuria (26%), dysphonia (24%), hemorrhagic events (23%), hypothyroidism (21%), and nausea (20%). The most common serious adverse reactions (≥2%) were hepatic encephalopathy (5%), hepatic failure (3%), ascites (3%), and decreased appetite (2%). Adverse reactions led to dose reductions or interruption in 62% of patients. The most common adverse reactions (≥5%) resulting in dose reductions were fatigue (9%), decreased appetite (8%), diarrhea (8%), proteinuria (7%), hypertension (6%), and palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome (5%). Treatment discontinuation due to an adverse reaction occurred in 20% of patients. The most common adverse reactions (≥1%) resulting in discontinuation of LENVIMA were fatigue (1%), hepatic encephalopathy (2%), hyperbilirubinemia (1%), and hepatic failure (1%).

In EC, the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) observed in LENVIMA + pembrolizumab-treated patients were hypothyroidism (67%), hypertension (67%), fatigue (58%), diarrhea (55%), musculoskeletal disorders (53%), nausea (49%), decreased appetite (44%), vomiting (37%), stomatitis (35%), decreased weight (34%), abdominal pain (34%), urinary tract infection (31%), proteinuria (29%), constipation (27%), headache (26%), hemorrhagic events (25%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (23%), dysphonia (22%), and rash (20%).

Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 4.7% of those treated with LENVIMA and pembrolizumab, including 2 cases of pneumonia, and 1 case of the following: acute kidney injury, acute myocardial infarction, colitis, decreased appetite, intestinal perforation, lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage, malignant gastrointestinal obstruction, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, myelodysplastic syndrome, pulmonary embolism, and right ventricular dysfunction.

Serious adverse reactions occurred in 50% of patients receiving LENVIMA and pembrolizumab. Serious adverse reactions with frequency ≥3% were hypertension (4.4%), and urinary tract infection (3.2%).

Discontinuation of LENVIMA due to an adverse reaction occurred in 26% of patients. The most common (≥1%) adverse reactions leading to discontinuation of LENVIMA were hypertension (2%), asthenia (1.8%), diarrhea (1.2%), decreased appetite (1.2%), proteinuria (1.2%), and vomiting (1.2%).

Dose reductions of LENVIMA due to adverse reactions occurred in 67% of patients. The most common (≥5%) adverse reactions resulting in dose reduction of LENVIMA were hypertension (18%), diarrhea (11%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome (9%), proteinuria (7%), fatigue (7%), decreased appetite (6%), asthenia (5%), and weight decreased (5%).

Dose interruptions of LENVIMA due to an adverse reaction occurred in 58% of these patients. The most common (≥2%) adverse reactions leading to interruption of LENVIMA were hypertension (11%), diarrhea (11%), proteinuria (6%), decreased appetite (5%), vomiting (5%), increased alanine aminotransferase (3.5%), fatigue (3.5%), nausea (3.5%), abdominal pain (2.9%), weight decreased (2.6%), urinary tract infection (2.6%), increased aspartate aminotransferase (2.3%), asthenia (2.3%), and palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (2%).

Use in Specific Populations

Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed infants, advise women to discontinue breastfeeding during treatment and for at least 1 week after the last dose. LENVIMA may impair fertility in males and females of reproductive potential.

No dose adjustment is recommended for patients with mild (CLcr 60-89 mL/min) or moderate (CLcr 30-59 mL/min) renal impairment. LENVIMA concentrations may increase in patients with DTC, RCC, or EC and severe (CLcr 15-29 mL/min) renal impairment. Reduce the dose for patients with DTC, RCC, or EC and severe renal impairment. There is no recommended dose for patients with HCC and severe renal impairment. LENVIMA has not been studied in patients with end-stage renal disease.

No dose adjustment is recommended for patients with HCC and mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh A). There is no recommended dose for patients with HCC with moderate (Child-Pugh B) or severe (Child-Pugh C) hepatic impairment. No dose adjustment is recommended for patients with DTC, RCC, or EC and mild or moderate hepatic impairment. LENVIMA concentrations may increase in patients with DTC, RCC, or EC and severe hepatic impairment. Reduce the dose for patients with DTC, RCC, or EC and severe hepatic impairment.

Please see Prescribing Information for LENVIMA (lenvatinib) at http://www.lenvima.com/pdfs/prescribing-information.pdf.

About the Merck and Eisai Strategic Collaboration

In March 2018, Eisai and Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, through an affiliate, entered into a strategic collaboration for the worldwide co-development and co-commercialization of LENVIMA. Under the agreement, the companies will jointly develop, manufacture and commercialize LENVIMA, both as monotherapy and in combination with Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy KEYTRUDA.

In addition to ongoing clinical studies evaluating the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination across several different tumor types, the companies have jointly initiated new clinical studies through the LEAP (LEnvatinib And Pembrolizumab) clinical program and are evaluating the combination in more than 10 different tumor types across more than 20 clinical trials.

Merck’s Focus on Cancer

Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, the potential to bring new hope to people with cancer drives our purpose and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the potential of immuno-oncology with one of the largest development programs in the industry across more than 30 tumor types. We also continue to strengthen our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and are prioritizing the development of several promising oncology candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced cancers. For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials.

About Merck

For over 130 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases – as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Eisai’s Focus on Cancer

Eisai focuses on the development of anticancer drugs, targeting the tumor microenvironment (with experience and knowledge from existing in-house discovered compounds) and the driver gene mutation and aberrant splicing (leveraging RNA Splicing Platform) as areas (Ricchi) where real patient needs are still unmet, and where Eisai can aim to become a frontrunner in oncology. Eisai aspires to discover innovative new drugs with new targets and mechanisms of action from these Ricchi, with the aim of contributing to the cure of cancers.

About Eisai

Eisai is a leading global research and development-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan, with approximately 10,000 employees worldwide. We define our corporate mission as “giving first thought to patients and their families and to increasing the benefits health care provides,” which we call our human health care (hhc) philosophy. We strive to realize our hhc philosophy by delivering innovative products in therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs, including Oncology and Neurology. In the spirit of hhc, we take that commitment even further by applying our scientific expertise, clinical capabilities and patient insights to discover and develop innovative solutions that help address society’s toughest unmet needs, including neglected tropical diseases and the Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information about Eisai, please visit www.eisai.com (for global headquarters: Eisai Co., Ltd.), us.eisai.com (for U.S. headquarters: Eisai, Inc.) or www.eisai.eu (for Europe, Middle East, Africa, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand headquarters: Eisai Europe Ltd.), and connect with us on Twitter (U.S. and global) and LinkedIn (for U.S. and EMEA).

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of the global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).

Merck Media Relations Melissa Moody: (215) 407-3536 Nikki Sullivan: (718) 644-0730

Merck Investor Relations Peter Dannenbaum: (908) 740-1037 Raychel Kruper: (908) 740-2107

Eisai Co., Ltd. Public Relations: +81-(0)3-3817-5120

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