New research shows a prescription cancer drug combined with chemotherapy cut the risk of death in non-small-cell lung cancer patients by 51 percent, Forbes reports.
The study, published Monday morning, explains how a combination of platinum chemotherapy and Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) significantly improved patients’ chances of survival compared to survival rates after chemotherapy alone and regardless of tumor type.
Keytruda is a medicine used for lung, skin, head and neck, urothelial, gastric, and several other cancers that works with the patient’s immune system to attack cancer cells.
“Adding Merck’s Keytruda to a standard chemotherapy regimen halved the odds that previously untreated patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer would die,” Forbes explains, “meaning that at the end of 21 months an extra two patients out of every 10 were still alive.”
This is not only significant news for non-small-cell lung cancer patients, but for investors, as well.
“Merck has run clinical trials that have proved Keytruda has clear benefits in previously untreated lung cancer patients, giving it an entrée into one of cancer’s biggest markets,” meaning that Merck’s Keyrtuda is surpassing its competitors through active and positive research results.
Wall Street estimates that by 2023, Merck’s Keyrtuda will generate $11.3 billion in sales, compared to about $3.8 billion today.