By Colin Kellaher

 

Merck & Co. on Tuesday said the European Commission approved the expanded use of its blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda for certain breast-cancer patients.

The Kenilworth, N.J., drugmaker said the approval covers Keytruda in combination with chemotherapy as neoadjuvant treatment, and then continued as monotherapy as adjuvant treatment after surgery for adults with locally advanced or early-stage triple-negative breast cancer at high risk of recurrence.

Triple-negative breast cancer, a type of breast cancer that doesn't have any of the receptors commonly found in breast cancer, accounts for 10% to 15% of all breast cancers and is usually more aggressive, harder to treat and more likely to recur.

Merck said the Keytruda combination is the first immunotherapy option approved in the EU for high-risk, early-stage triple-negative breast cancer, adding that the decision marks the fifth approval for Keytruda in a breast or gynecologic cancer in the EU in less than a year.

Keytruda, a cancer drug that harnesses a patient's immune system to fight tumors, is approved in dozens of indications around the world. Sales of the drug topped $17 billion last year.

 

Write to Colin Kellaher at colin.kellaher@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 24, 2022 07:15 ET (11:15 GMT)

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