Keytruda-chemo Combo Best for Clearing Tumors in Early TNBC, Latest Trial Data Show

Keytruda-chemo Combo Best for Clearing Tumors in Early TNBC, Latest Trial Data Show
Adding the immunotherapy Keytruda (pembrolizumab) to chemotherapy increases the number of women with early triple-negative breast cancer who clear all signs of cancer, and tends to prolong survival without complications or symptoms, according to the latest results from the KEYNOTE-522 trial. "The data suggest that the improved pathological complete response with pembrolizumab translates into fewer recurrences [the return of cancer],"  Peter Schmid, MD, the medical oncologist who presented the study, said in a press release. The results were shared at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2019 Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Sept. 29, in a presentation titled, "Phase 3 study of pembrolizumab (pembro) + chemotherapy (chemo) vs placebo (pbo) + chemo as neoadjuvant treatment, followed by pembro vs pbo as adjuvant treatment for early triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)." Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) accounts for 15% of breast cancers; it is the most aggressive type of breast cancer and is more common among young women. "It represents an unmet medical need, since the only approved medical therapy at early stages of the disease is chemotherapy," said Fabrice André, MD, PhD, professor at the Institut Gustave Roussy, a leading immunotherapy center in Paris, France. The treatment that provides better chances of pathological complete response, meaning the disappearance of all signs of cancer cells, consists of chemotherapy followed by surgery to remove the tumor. Women with a complete response have an 85–90% probability of being cured, while those with residual tumor tissue have a 40–50% chance of seeing their cancer recur, which happens often within a period of three years. The ongoing KEYNOTE-522 Phase 3 trial (NCT03036488) is
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