Keytruda is an immunotherapy protocol that has proven remarkably effective in treating many types of cancer, but attendees at an international cancer conference learned this week that a randomized phase 3 trial showed disappointing results in mesothelioma patients.
ESMO Conference Attendees Hear Results of Keytruda Trials
The European Society of Medical Oncology’s annual meeting has a well-earned reputation for delivering both exciting and disappointing news about recent clinical trials and their results, and this year’s meeting delivered bad news for those hoping that the immunotherapy treatment would be a breakthrough in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma. Conference attendees heard that the most recent trial testing Keytruda in mesothelioma patients who had progressed after first-line chemotherapy demonstrated no advantage of additional chemotherapy.
The PROMISE mesothelioma study had carried the hopes of researchers and patients alike because Keytruda has delivered such positive results for patients diagnosed with other types of cancers. According to study investigator Sanjay Popat, MD, PhD, a thoracic medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust of London, England, “nearly four times more patients” responded to the immunotherapy then to chemotherapy, but the response was not superior to chemotherapy.
Similar survival seen in mesothelioma patients receiving Keytruda as those receiving chemotherapy
Though many had hoped for the same type of results seen in other cancers, mesothelioma patients who were given Keytruda had similar survival times. This means that though some patients might tolerate Keytruda better than chemotherapy, there is no indication that they will live any longer.
The researchers are still hopeful that combining the two protocols may provide a positive result. Dr. Popat said, “I would advise clinicians to enroll their patients into one of the large ongoing trials of first-line combination treatment so we can get answers as soon as possible about how to improve mesothelioma treatment,” he said.
Mesothelioma patients and researchers continue to hope for positive study results, and there are numerous protocols that can improve quality of life. For information on the options available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today by calling 1-800-692-8608.