Melanoma drug may help lung cancer patients

Merck & Co is applying to have its drug Keytruda approved in the United States as a treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer, the most common form of the disease.

Keytruda, also known as pembrolizumab, is already approved by the country’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for patients with advanced melanoma who are no longer responding to other therapies.

It was shown in a trial to shrink tumours in nearly half of advanced lung cancer patients with high levels of a protein called PD-1, or a related target known as PD-L1, which is used by tumours to evade the body's own disease-fighting cells.

Merck said its FDA lung cancer application is for patients with both squamous and non-squamous NSCLC.

The results were presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.



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