Five-Year Analysis of Adjuvant Pembrolizumab or Placebo in Stage III Melanoma.
In the previously reported primary analyses of this phase 3 trial, 12 months of adjuvant pembrolizumab resulted in significantly longer recurrence- and distant metastasis-free survival than placebo in patients with resected high-risk stage III melanoma. To confirm the stability of these benefits, longer-term data were needed.
We randomly assigned 1019 patients to receive 200 mg of pembrolizumab or placebo intravenously every 3 weeks for a total of 18 doses (approximately 1 year) and had previously reported data with a 15-, 36-, and 42-month median follow-up. We now report data at a median follow-up of 4.9 years. We report a number of outcomes, including recurrence-free survival in the overall population and in the subgroup of patients with cancer who were positive for the programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). Distant metastasis-free survival was a secondary end point.
In the overall intention-to-treat population, pembrolizumab was still associated with longer recurrence-free survival than placebo (5-year rate of recurrence-free survival, 55.4% [95% confidence interval (CI), 50.8 to 59.8] vs. 38.3% [95% CI, 33.9 to 42.7]; hazard ratio for recurrence or death, 0.61 [95% CI, 0.51 to 0.72]) and a longer distant metastasis-free survival (5-year rate of distant metastasis-free survival, 60.6% [95% CI, 56.0 to 64.9] vs. 44.5% [95% CI, 39.9 to 48.9]; hazard ratio for distant metastasis or death, 0.62 [95% CI, 0.52 to 0.75]). Similar findings were obtained in the subgroup of 853 patients with PD-L1–positive tumors.
The 5-year analysis of adjuvant therapy with pembrolizumab resulted in a sustained improvement in the long-term recurrence- and distant metastasis-free survival compared with placebo in patients with resected stage III melanoma. (Funded by Merck & Co., Inc.; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02362594, and EudraCT number, 2014-004944-37.)