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Merck's Keytruda fails as 2nd line treatment for gastric cancer in phase 3 trial

Merck & Co. Inc.'s phase 3 trial of Keytruda as a second-line treatment for a certain gastric cancer failed to meet its main goal of overall survival.

The KEYNOTE-061 study was evaluating Keytruda as a second-line treatment for patients with advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma whose tumors express PD-L1.

In addition, progression free survival in the PD-L1 positive population did not show statistical significance.

Merck will continue to evaluate Keytruda as a monotherapy or in combination with chemotherapy in another phase 3 trial, KEYNOTE-062, as first-line treatment for patients with PD-L1 positive advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer.

In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Keytruda as a third-line treatment for previously treated patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer whose tumors express PD-L1.