Combination of Merck’s Keytruda and Pfizer’s Inlyta increases kidney cancer survival

New York: According to pharmaceutical company Merck & Co Inc., the combo of its cancer immunotherapy Keytruda and Pfizer Inc’s Inlyta reduces the risk of death nearly to half for patients with the most common form of kidney cancer in comparison to the treatment with Sutent, a chemotherapy drug.

The combination when used as the initial treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma cut the risk of death by about 47 percent in its late-stage trial, Merck said.

Progression-free survival is improved by these drugs. Besides, the drugs also had a higher response rate in patients as compared to treatment with chemotherapy. Merck’s Keytruda is its major growth driver and dominates the lung cancer space. As it produces positive clinical data and adds approvals for various cancer types, it shows no sign of slowing. If the combination gets approval for treatment of patients with renal cell carcinoma renal cell carcinoma, Merk would again be competition with its rival cancer company Bristol-Myers Squibb Co’s Opdivo, which is already used with its Yervoy in combination, for treating kidney cancer.

Keytruda’s sales have surged past Opdivo’s this year. Bristol-Myers being a pioneer in the treatments that help the immune system attack tumors, Opdivo had been a top immuno-oncology treatment. Merck is now expected to sell nearly $10 billion of Keytruda this year, as per IBES data from Refinitiv.


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