In a nutshell
This study compared survival rates in advanced melanoma patients treated with either pembrolizumab (Keytruda) or ipilimumab (Yervoy). The study found that patients treated with pembrolizumab had a higher survival rate and fewer overall side effects.
Both pembrolizumab and ipilimumab are treatments that affect the body’s immune system. Each therapy attaches to a different protein on the cancer cells. This allows the immune system to detect cancer cells in the body and destroy them. Pembrolizumab has been shown to increase the time to disease progression compared to ipilimumab, with fewer side effects. However, the long-term outcomes of these patients must be compared.
Methods & findings
This study compared the long-term survival in patients treated with pembrolizumab or ipilimumab.
834 patients with advanced melanoma took part in the trial. 279 (34.4%) received pembrolizumab every 2 weeks, 277 (34%) received pembrolizumab every 3 weeks and 278 (34.8%) patients received ipilimumab every 3 weeks. These treatments were randomly assigned to patients. Patients were followed for an average of 22.9 months.
After 24 months, 31% of patients on pembrolizumab every two weeks had not progressed. This was 28% in the 3-week group, and 14% in the ipilimumab group.
Average 2-year overall survival (time from treatment until death from any cause) was 55% in the pembrolizumab 2-week group, 55% in the 3-week group, and 43% in the ipilimumab group.
Common side effects reported from treatment were tiredness, itchy skin, rash and diarrhea. More serious treatment-related side effects were found in the ipilimumab group.
The bottom line
This study concluded that pembrolizumab was associated with improved survival rates compared to ipilimumab.
Published By :
Lancet (London, England)
Aug 16, 2017