KEYTRUDA Approved by FDA for Treatment of Cervical Cancer

Merck is pleased to announce that KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) has been approved by the US FDA for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer with disease progression on or after chemotherapy whose tumors express programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) (combined positive score [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.

FDA=Food and Drug Administration.

 Selected Safety Information

Immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred with KEYTRUDA, including pneumonitis, colitis, hepatitis, endocrinopathies, nephritis, severe skin reactions, and solid organ transplant rejection. Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, KEYTRUDA should be withheld or discontinued and corticosteroids administered if appropriate. In patients with a history of allogeneic HSCT, acute GVHD, including fatal GVHD, has been reported after treatment with KEYTRUDA; consider the benefit of KEYTRUDA vs the risk of GVHD. For more information regarding immune-mediated adverse reactions, please read the additional Selected Safety Information below.

Recommended Dosing in Recurrent or Metastatic Cervical Cancer

The recommended dose of KEYTRUDA in patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer is 200 mg administered as an intravenous infusion over 30 minutes every 3 weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.

KEYNOTE-158

KEYTRUDA was investigated in 98 patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer enrolled in a single cohort (Cohort E) in Study KEYNOTE-158 (NCT02628067), a multicenter, non-randomized, open-label, multicohort trial. The trial excluded patients with autoimmune disease or a medical condition that required immunosuppression.

Patients were treated with KEYTRUDA intravenously at a dose of 200 mg every 3 weeks until unacceptable toxicity or documented disease progression. Patients with initial radiographic disease progression could receive additional doses of treatment during confirmation of progression unless disease progression was symptomatic, was rapidly progressive, required urgent intervention, or occurred with a decline in performance status. Patients without disease progression could be treated for up to 24 months. Assessment of tumor status was performed every 9 weeks for the first 12 months, and every 12 weeks thereafter. The major efficacy outcome measures were objective response rate (ORR) according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) 1.1, as assessed by blinded independent central review, and duration of response.

Among the 98 patients in Cohort E, 77 (79%) had tumors that expressed PD-L1 with a CPS ≥1 and received at least one line of chemotherapy in the metastatic setting. PD-L1 status was determined using the PD-L1 IHC 22C3 pharmDx Kit. The baseline characteristics of these 77 patients were: median age was 45 years (range: 27 to 75 years); 81% were White, 14% Asian, 3% Black; Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) PS was 0 (32%) or 1 (68%); 92% had squamous cell carcinoma, 6% adenocarcinoma, and 1% adenosquamous histology; 95% had M1 (metastatic) disease and 5% had recurrent disease; 35% had one and 65% had two or more prior lines of therapy in the recurrent or metastatic setting.

No responses were observed in patients whose tumors did not have PD-L1 expression (CPS <1). Efficacy results are summarized in the table below.

Efficacy Results in Patients with Recurrent or Metastatic Cervical Cancer (CPS ≥1) in KEYNOTE-158

Endpoint n=77*
Objective Response Rate
ORR (95% CI) 14.3% (7.4, 24.1)
Complete Response Rate 2.6%
Partial Response Rate 11.7%
Response Duration
Median in months (range) NR (4.1, 18.6+)
% with duration ≥6 months 91%

*Median follow-up time of 11.7 months (range 0.6 to 22.7 months)
Based on patients (n=11) with a response by independent review
+ Denotes ongoing
NR=not reached

Selected Safety Information (continued)

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases. Pneumonitis occurred in 94 (3.4%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 1 (0.8%), 2 (1.3%), 3 (0.9%), 4 (0.3%), and 5 (0.1%) pneumonitis, and occurred more frequently in patients with a history of prior thoracic radiation (6.9%) compared to those without (2.9%). 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.
KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis. Colitis occurred in 48 (1.7%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.4%), 3 (1.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) colitis. 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.
KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis occurred in 19 (0.7%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.4%), and 4 (<0.1%) hepatitis. 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.
KEYTRUDA can cause hypophysitis. Hypophysitis occurred in 17 (0.6%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.2%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%) hypophysitis. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of hypophysitis (including hypopituitarism and adrenal insufficiency). Administer corticosteroids and hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; withhold or discontinue for Grade 3 or 4 hypophysitis.
KEYTRUDA can cause thyroid disorders, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and thyroiditis. Hyperthyroidism occurred in 96 (3.4%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.8%) and 3 (0.1%) hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurred in 237 (8.5%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (6.2%) and 3 (0.1%) hypothyroidism. Thyroiditis occurred in 16 (0.6%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.3%) thyroiditis. Monitor patients for changes in thyroid function (at the start of treatment, periodically during treatment, and as indicated based on clinical evaluation) and for clinical signs and symptoms of thyroid disorders. Administer replacement hormones for hypothyroidism and manage hyperthyroidism with thionamides and beta-blockers as appropriate. Withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 hyperthyroidism.
KEYTRUDA can cause type 1 diabetes mellitus, including diabetic ketoacidosis, which have been reported in 6 (0.2%) of 2799 patients. Monitor patients for hyperglycemia or other signs and symptoms of diabetes. Administer insulin for type 1 diabetes, and withhold KEYTRUDA and administer antihyperglycemics in patients with severe hyperglycemia.
KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 9 (0.3%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) nephritis. Monitor patients for changes in renal function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater nephritis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 nephritis.
Immune-mediated rashes, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) (some cases with fatal outcome), exfoliative dermatitis, and bullous pemphigoid, can occur. Monitor patients for suspected severe skin reactions and based on the severity of the adverse reaction, withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA and administer corticosteroids. For signs or symptoms of SJS or TEN, withhold KEYTRUDA and refer the patient for specialized care for assessment and treatment. If SJS or TEN is confirmed, permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA.
Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue in patients receiving KEYTRUDA. While immune-mediated adverse reactions usually occur during treatment with programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1)/PD-L1 blocking antibodies, they may occur after discontinuation of treatment. For suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, ensure adequate evaluation to confirm etiology or exclude other causes. Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, withhold KEYTRUDA and administer corticosteroids. Upon improvement to Grade 1 or less, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue to taper over at least 1 month. Based on limited data from clinical studies in patients whose immune-related adverse reactions could not be controlled with corticosteroid use, administration of other systemic immunosuppressants can be considered. Resume KEYTRUDA when the adverse reaction remains at Grade 1 or less following corticosteroid taper. Permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for any Grade 3 immune-mediated adverse reaction that recurs and for any life-threatening immune-mediated adverse reaction.
The following clinically significant immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred in less than 1% (unless otherwise indicated) of 2799 patients: arthritis (1.5%), uveitis, myositis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myasthenia gravis, vasculitis, pancreatitis, hemolytic anemia, sarcoidosis, and encephalitis. In addition, myelitis and myocarditis were reported in other clinical trials, including classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), and postmarketing use.
Solid organ transplant rejection has been reported in postmarketing use of KEYTRUDA. Treatment with KEYTRUDA may increase the risk of rejection in solid organ transplant recipients. Consider the benefit of treatment with KEYTRUDA vs the risk of possible organ rejection in these patients.
KEYTRUDA can cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions, including hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis, which have been reported in 6 (0.2%) of 2799 patients. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infusion-related reactions, including rigors, chills, wheezing, pruritus, flushing, rash, hypotension, hypoxemia, and fever. For Grade 3 or 4 reactions, stop infusion and permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA.
In patients with a history of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), including fatal GVHD, has been reported after treatment with KEYTRUDA. Patients who experienced GVHD after their transplant procedure may be at increased risk for GVHD after KEYTRUDA. Consider the benefit of KEYTRUDA vs the risk of GVHD in these patients.
In clinical trials in patients with multiple myeloma, the addition of KEYTRUDA to a thalidomide analogue plus dexamethasone resulted in increased mortality. Treatment of these patients with a PD-1 or PD-L1 blocking antibody in this combination is not recommended outside of controlled clinical trials.
Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. If used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant during treatment, apprise the patient of the potential hazard to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use highly effective contraception during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose of KEYTRUDA.
In KEYNOTE-158, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 98 patients (in Cohort E) with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported included anemia (7%), fistula, hemorrhage, and infections [except urinary tract infections] (4.1% each). The most common adverse reactions (occurring in ≥20% of patients) were fatigue (43%), musculoskeletal pain (27%), diarrhea (23%), pain, and abdominal pain (22% each), and decreased appetite (21%).
It is not known whether KEYTRUDA is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, instruct women to discontinue nursing during treatment with KEYTRUDA and for 4 months after the final dose.

Before prescribing KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), please read the Prescribing Information.
The Medication Guide also is available.

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