HealthDay News — Pembrolizumab is associated with an overall objective response rate of 33% in patients with advanced melanoma, and a higher rate for treatment-naive patients, according to a study published in the April 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, from the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted an open-label clinical trial to characterize the association of pembrolizumab with tumor response and overall survival. Data were pooled from 655 enrolled patients with advanced or metastatic melanoma (135 from a nonrandomized cohort and 520 from randomized cohorts), of whom 581 had measurable disease at baseline.

The researchers found that 33% of patients had an objective response, including 45% of the 133 treatment-naive patients. At the time of data cut-off, 74% of responses were ongoing; 44 and 79% had response duration of at least one year and at least 6 months, respectively. Twelve-month progression-free survival rates were 35 and 52%, among the total population and treatment-naive patients, respectively. The median overall survival was 23 months in the total population, with 12- and 24-month survival rates of 66 and 49%, respectively. For treatment naive patients, median overall survival was 31 months, with 12- and 24-month survival of 73 and 60 percent, respectively.

“Among patients with advanced melanoma, pembrolizumab administration was associated with an overall objective response rate of 33%,” the authors write.

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

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