Merck, Pfizer combo treatment meets main goals of kidney cancer trial

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(Reuters) - Merck & Co said on Thursday a combination treatment of its cancer drug Keytruda and Pfizer Inc’s Inlyta met the main goals of a late-stage study in patients with the most common form of kidney cancer.

The combination resulted in statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in overall survival of the patients and helped patients survive without the cancer worsening, when compared to Pfizer’s kidney cancer drug, Sutent.

Keytruda is a blockbuster medicine that targets a blockade of proteins known as PD-1 and is approved for a range of other cancers, including lung cancer.

Pfizer’s Inlyta is already approved to treat advanced renal cell cancer in patients who have faced failure of one prior systemic therapy.

“This marks the first time that combination treatment with an anti-PD-1 therapy has achieved the dual primary endpoints of overall survival and progression-free survival as first-line therapy (in renal cell cancer patients),” Roger Perlmutter, president of Merck Research Laboratories said.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru