Pembrolizumab promising for metastatic head, neck SCC

Pembrolizumab promising for metastatic head, neck SCC

(HealthDay)—For patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, pembrolizumab has a favorable safety profile and is associated with prolongation of overall survival, according to a study published online Nov. 30 in The Lancet.

Ezra E.W. Cohen, M.D., from the University of California in San Diego, and colleagues conducted a randomized open-label phase 3 study at 97 medical centers in 20 countries. Patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma that progressed during or after platinum-containing treatment for recurrent or or whose disease recurred or progressed within three to six months of previous multimodal therapy containing platinum were randomly assigned to receive either pembrolizumab (247 patients) or the investigator's choice of standard doses of methotrexate, docetaxel, or cetuximab (248 patients) between Dec. 24, 2014, and May 13, 2016.

The researchers found that 73 and 83 percent of patients in the pembrolizumab and standard-of-care groups had died as of May 15, 2017. In the intention-to-treat population, the median overall survival was 8.4 and 6.9 months with pembrolizumab and standard of care, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.8). Fewer pembrolizumab-treated patients than standard-of-care patients had grade 3 or worse treatment-related adverse events (13 versus 36 percent).

"The clinically meaningful prolongation of overall survival and favorable safety profile of pembrolizumab in with recurrent or metastatic head and neck support the further evaluation of pembrolizumab as a monotherapy and as part of combination therapy in earlier stages of disease," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to , including Merck, which manufactures and funded the study.


Explore further

Immunotherapy improves survival in metastatic or recurrent head and neck cancer

More information: Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)
Journal information: The Lancet

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Citation: Pembrolizumab promising for metastatic head, neck SCC (2018, December 20) retrieved 24 July 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-12-pembrolizumab-metastatic-neck-scc.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
1 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more