Adjuvant pembrolizumab versus placebo in resected high-risk stage II melanoma: Health-related quality of life from the randomized phase 3 KEYNOTE-716 study.

Muhammad A. Khattak, Jason J. Luke, Georgina V. Long, Paolo A. Ascierto, Piotr Rutkowski, Dirk Schadendorf, Caroline Robert, Jean-Jacques Grob, Luis de la Cruz Merino, Michele Del Vecchio, Francesco Spagnolo, Jacek Mackiewicz, Vanna Chiarion-Sileni, Matteo S. Carlino, Peter Mohr, Federica De Galitiis, Merrick I. Ross, Zeynep Eroglu, Ke Chen, Ruixuan Jiang, Mizuho Fukunaga-Kalabis, Clemens Krepler, Alexander M.M. Eggermont, John M. Kirkwood. European Journal of Cancer, 2022, ISSN 0959-8049


Background: Adjuvant pembrolizumab significantly improved recurrence-free survival (RFS) versus placebo in resected stage IIB and IIC melanoma in the phase 3 KEYNOTE-716 study. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) results are reported.

Methods: Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to pembrolizumab 200 mg (2 mg/kg, patients ≥12 to <18 years) Q3W or placebo for ≤17 cycles or until disease recurrence, unacceptable toxicity, or withdrawal. Change from baseline in EORTC QLQ-C30 global health status (GHS)/quality of life (QoL) was a prespecified exploratory end point. Change in EORTC QLQ-C30 functioning, symptom, and single-item scales, and EQ-5D-5L visual analog scale (VAS) were also summarized. Primary analyses were performed at week 48 to ensure adequate completion/compliance. The HRQoL population comprised patients who received ≥1 dose of treatment and completed ≥1 assessment.

Results: The HRQoL population included 969 patients (pembrolizumab, n = 483; placebo, n = 486). Compliance at week 48 was ≥80% for both instruments. EORTC QLQ-C30 GHS/QoL, physical functioning, role functioning, and EQ-5D-5L VAS scores were stable from baseline to week 48 in both arms, with no clinically meaningful decline observed. Scores did not differ significantly between pembrolizumab and placebo. EORTC QLQ-C30 GHS/QoL, physical functioning, role functioning, and EQ-5D-5L VAS scores remained stable through week 96 in both arms.

Conclusions: HRQoL was stable with adjuvant pembrolizumab, with no clinically meaningful decline observed. Change from baseline in HRQoL was similar between arms. These results, in conjunction with the improved RFS and manageable safety previously reported, support the use of adjuvant pembrolizumab for high-risk stage II melanoma.