Merck and Eisai Present First-Time Data From Two Studies Evaluating KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Plus LENVIMA® (lenvatinib) in Seven Different Tumor Types at ESMO Virtual Congress 2020

New Results Include Findings From the Phase 2 LEAP-004 Trial Showing an ORR of 21.4% in Patients With Unresectable or Advanced Melanoma Who Had Previously Progressed on an Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 Therapy

KENILWORTH, N.J., & WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–$MRK #MRK–Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Eisai today announced new investigational data from two trials under the LEAP (LEnvatinib And Pembrolizumab) clinical program evaluating KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, plus LENVIMA, the orally available multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor discovered by Eisai. In the Phase 2 LEAP-004 trial, KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA showed an objective response rate (ORR) of 21.4% (95% CI: 13.9-30.5) in patients with unresectable or advanced melanoma who had previously progressed on an anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy. In the Phase 2 LEAP-005 trial, KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA demonstrated an ORR that ranged from 9.7-32.3% (95% CI: 2.0-51.4) in previously treated patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), ovarian cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer (non-microsatellite instability-high [non-MSI-H]/mismatch repair proficient [pMMR]), glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and biliary tract cancer (BTC). Results from LEAP-004 (Abstract #LBA44) and LEAP-005 (Abstract #LBA41) were accepted as late-breaking abstracts and are being presented in proffered paper presentations at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020.

“These new data from our LEAP clinical program show encouraging activity across several aggressive cancer types and expand our knowledge about the potential of KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA to help a range of patients with these cancers,” said Dr. Scot Ebbinghaus, Vice President, Clinical Research, Merck Research Laboratories. “This is the first time that clinical data from two LEAP trials are being presented, reflecting important progress we are making to explore the potential of this combination for patients in need of new options, particularly those with advanced melanoma who have progressed on an anti-PD-1 or PD-L1 therapy.”

“We are encouraged by the growing body of research that we have seen to date, now in 13 different cancers, supporting the potential of the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination, which we’re currently evaluating in 19 clinical trials,” said Dr. Takashi Owa, Chief Medicine Creation and Chief Discovery Officer, Oncology Business Group at Eisai. “These data not only help advance our understanding of the regimen but also fuel our deep-seated determination to work to address the unmet needs of these patients.”

LEAP-004 Trial Design and Data (Abstract #LBA44)

LEAP-004 (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03776136) is a Phase 2, single-arm, open-label trial evaluating KEYTRUDA in combination with LENVIMA in patients with unresectable or advanced melanoma who had progressed on an anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy within 12 weeks. Patients were treated with LENVIMA 20 mg orally once daily until unacceptable toxicity or disease progression in combination with KEYTRUDA 200 mg intravenously every three weeks until unacceptable toxicity or disease progression for up to 35 cycles (approximately two years). The primary endpoint is ORR per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) v1.1 as assessed by blinded independent central review (BICR). Secondary endpoints include progression-free survival (PFS) and duration of response (DOR) per RECIST v1.1 by BICR, overall survival (OS) and safety.

At data cutoff (June 10, 2020), a total of 103 patients were enrolled and treated. With a median duration of follow-up of 12 months (range: 8.7-15.6), KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA demonstrated an overall ORR by BICR of 21.4% (n=22) (95% CI: 13.9-30.5), with a complete response rate of 1.9% (n=2) and a partial response rate of 19.4% (n=20). In the total study population, the median DOR was 6.3 months (range: 2.1+ to 11.1+), with 72.6% (95% CI: 46.2-87.6) of responses lasting for at least six months. Median PFS was 4.2 months (range: 3.5 to 6.3), with 73.8% of patients experiencing disease progression or death, and the nine-month PFS rate was 26.2% (95% CI: 17.4-35.9). Median OS was 13.9 months (range: 10.8-not reached [NR]), with death occurring in 44.7% of patients, and the nine-month OS rate was 65.4% (95% CI: 55.2-73.8).

The exploratory analysis showed that specifically in the 29 patients whose disease progressed after an anti-PD-1/L1 therapy plus an anti-CTLA-4 therapy, the ORR by BICR was 31.0% (95% CI: 15.3-50.8), with a complete response rate of 3.4% (n=1) and a partial response rate of 27.6% (n=8), and the disease control rate (DCR) by BICR was 62.1% (95% CI: 42.3-79.3). In the total study population, the DCR by BICR was 65.0% (95% CI: 55.0-74.2).

Treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) led to discontinuation of KEYTRUDA and/or LENVIMA in 7.8% of patients. Grade 3-5 TRAEs occurred in 44.7% of patients (Grade 3: 39.8%; Grade 4: 3.9%; Grade 5: 1.0%), and serious TRAEs occurred in 18.4% of patients. The most common TRAEs of any grade occurring in at least 30% of the overall study population were hypertension (56.3%), diarrhea (35.9%), nausea (34.0%), hypothyroidism (33.0%) and decreased appetite (31.1%).

LEAP-005 Trial Design and Data (Abstract #LBA41)

LEAP-005 (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03797326) is a Phase 2, single-arm, open-label trial evaluating KEYTRUDA in combination with LENVIMA in patients with select previously treated advanced solid tumors. The study cohorts are TNBC, ovarian cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer (non-MSI-H/pMMR), GBM and BTC. Patients were treated with LENVIMA 20 mg orally once daily until unacceptable toxicity or disease progression in combination with KEYTRUDA 200 mg intravenously every three weeks until unacceptable toxicity or disease progression for up to 35 cycles (approximately two years). The primary endpoints are ORR per RECIST v1.1 as assessed by BICR or Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology (RANO) criteria (for GBM only) as assessed by BICR, and safety. Secondary endpoints include DCR per RECIST v1.1 by BICR or RANO (for GBM only) by BICR, DOR per RECIST v1.1 by BICR or RANO (for GBM only) by BICR, PFS per RECIST v1.1 by BICR or RANO (for GBM only) by BICR, and OS.

At data cutoff (April 10, 2020), a total of 187 patients were enrolled and treated. The confirmed ORR after a median duration of follow-up of 8.6 months (range: 1.9-13.1) for the six different tumor types, as well as additional efficacy and safety results, showed:

 

2L/3L TNBC

(n=31)

4L

Ovarian

(n=31)

3L Gastric

(n=31)

3L Colorectal

(n=32)

2L

BTC

(n=31)

2L

GBM

(n=31)

ORR, %

(95% CI)

29.0 (14.2-48.0)

32.3 (16.7-51.4)

9.7 (2.0-25.8)

21.9 (9.3-40.0)

9.7 (2.0-25.8)

16.1 (5.5-33.7)

DCR, %

(95% CI)

58.1 (39.1-75.5)

74.2 (55.4-88.1)

48.4 (30.2-66.9)

46.9 (29.1-65.3)

67.7 (48.6-83.3)

58.1 (39.1-75.5)

DOR, median (range), months

NR (0.0+ to 8.4+)

NR (1.5+ to 7.9+)

NR (2.1+ to 2.3+)

NR (2.1+ to 10.4+)

5.3 (2.1+ to 6.2)

3.2 (2.5 to 4.9+)

Grade ≥3 TRAEs, % (n)

55 (17)

68 (21)

42 (13)

50 (16)

48 (15)

35 (11)

Death due to a TRAE, % (n)

3 (1)

3 (1)

3 (1)

3 (1)

0 (0)

3 (1)

Discontinued due to a TRAE, % (n)

10 (3)

13 (4)

6 (2)

9 (3)

6 (2)

6 (2)

+, no progressive disease (PD) as of last disease assessment; DCR, disease control rate (best confirmed response: complete/partial response; stable disease); DOR, duration of response; NR, not reached

The most common TRAEs of any grade occurring in at least 20% of the overall study population were hypertension (39.0%), fatigue (29.4%), diarrhea (26.7%), decreased appetite (25.1%), hypothyroidism (27.8%) and nausea (21.9%). The study is ongoing and will be expanded to enroll approximately 100 patients in each cohort.

About KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Injection, 100 mg

KEYTRUDA is an anti-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 1,200 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

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.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with disease progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy and at least 1 other prior line of 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 confirmatory trials.

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 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), or who have relapsed after 3 or more prior lines of 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.

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. 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 confirmatory trials. 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 cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) ≥10], as determined by an FDA-approved test, or in patients who are not eligible for any platinum-containing chemotherapy regardless of PD-L1 status. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

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, or
  • colorectal cancer that has progressed following treatment with fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan.

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 first-line treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic MSI-H or dMMR colorectal cancer (CRC).

Gastric Cancer

KEYTRUDA 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 two 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 recurrent locally advanced or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥10) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression after one or more prior lines of systemic therapy.

Cervical Cancer

KEYTRUDA 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. 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.

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 patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (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 and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation. 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 trial.

Tumor Mutational Burden-High

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic tumor mutational burden-high (TMB-H) [≥10 mutations/megabase (mut/Mb)] 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) that is not curable by surgery or radiation.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab)

Immune-Mediated Pneumonitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases. Pneumonitis occurred in 3.4% (94/2799) of patients with various cancers receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 1 (0.8%), 2 (1.3%), 3 (0.9%), 4 (0.3%), and 5 (0.1%). Pneumonitis occurred in 8.2% (65/790) of NSCLC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-4 in 3.2% of patients, and occurred more frequently in patients with a history of prior thoracic radiation (17%) compared to those without (7.7%). Pneumonitis occurred in 6% (18/300) of HNSCC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-5 in 1.6% of patients, and occurred in 5.4% (15/276) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with platinum and FU as first-line therapy for advanced disease, including Grades 3-5 in 1.5% of patients.

Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of pneumonitis. Evaluate suspected pneumonitis with radiographic imaging. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater pneumonitis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 or recurrent Grade 2 pneumonitis.

Immune-Mediated Colitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis. Colitis occurred in 1.7% (48/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.4%), 3 (1.1%), and 4 (<0.1%). Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of colitis. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater colitis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 or 3; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 4 colitis.

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis (KEYTRUDA) and Hepatotoxicity (KEYTRUDA in Combination With Axitinib)

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis occurred in 0.7% (19/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.4%), and 4 (<0.1%). Monitor patients for changes in liver function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater hepatitis and, based on severity of liver enzyme elevations, withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA.

Hepatotoxicity in Combination With Axitinib

KEYTRUDA in combination with axitinib can cause hepatic toxicity with higher than expected frequencies of Grades 3 and 4 ALT and AST elevations compared to KEYTRUDA alone. With the combination of KEYTRUDA and axitinib, Grades 3 and 4 increased ALT (20%) and increased AST (13%) were seen. Monitor liver enzymes before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment. Consider more frequent monitoring of liver enzymes 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.

Immune-Mediated Endocrinopathies

KEYTRUDA can cause adrenal insufficiency (primary and secondary), hypophysitis, thyroid disorders, and type 1 diabetes mellitus. Adrenal insufficiency occurred in 0.8% (22/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypophysitis occurred in 0.6% (17/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.2%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypothyroidism occurred in 8.5% (237/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (6.2%) and 3 (0.1%). The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was higher in 1185 patients with HNSCC (16%) receiving KEYTRUDA, as a single agent or in combination with platinum and FU, including Grade 3 (0.3%) hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurred in 3.4% (96/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.8%) and 3 (0.1%), and thyroiditis occurred in 0.6% (16/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%). Type 1 diabetes mellitus, including diabetic ketoacidosis, occurred in 0.2% (6/2799) of patients.

Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, hypophysitis (including hypopituitarism), thyroid function (prior to and periodically during treatment), and hyperglycemia. For adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis, administer corticosteroids and hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis and withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or Grade 4 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis. Administer hormone replacement for hypothyroidism and manage hyperthyroidism with thionamides and beta-blockers as appropriate. Withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 hyperthyroidism. Administer insulin for type 1 diabetes, and withhold KEYTRUDA and administer antihyperglycemics in patients with severe hyperglycemia.

Immune-Mediated Nephritis and Renal Dysfunction

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 0.3% (9/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 1.7% (7/405) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy. Monitor patients for changes in renal function.

Contacts

Merck Media Relations
Pamela Eisele: (267) 305-3558

Rebecca Newberry: (484) 678-2952

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

Courtney Ronaldo: (908) 740-6132

Eisai Inc. Media Relations
Michele Randazzo: (551) 579-4465

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