BACKGROUND: In KEYNOTE-002, pembrolizumab significantly prolonged progression-free survival and was associated with a better safety profile compared with chemotherapy in patients with advanced melanoma that progressed after ipilimumab. We present health-related quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes from KEYNOTE-002.
METHODS: Patients were randomly assigned 1:1:1 to pembrolizumab 2 or 10 mg/kg every 3 weeks (Q3W) or investigator-choice chemotherapy. HRQoL was assessed using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality-of-Life Questionnaire-Core 30 instrument. A constrained longitudinal data analysis model was implemented to assess between-arm differences in HRQoL scores. The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01704287.
RESULTS: Of the 540 patients enrolled, 520 were included in the HRQoL analysis. Baseline global health status (GHS) was similar across treatment arms. Compliance rates at week 12 were 76.6% (n = 108), 82.3% (n = 121), and 86.4% (n = 133) for the control, pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg Q3W, and pembrolizumab 10 mg/kg Q3W arms, respectively. From baseline to week 12, GHS/HRQoL scores were maintained to a higher degree in the pembrolizumab arms compared with the chemotherapy arm (decrease of -2.6 for each pembrolizumab arm versus -9.1 for chemotherapy; P = 0.01 for each pembrolizumab arm versus chemotherapy). Fewer patients treated with pembrolizumab experienced deterioration in GHS at week 12 (31.8% for pembrolizumab 2 mg/kg, 26.6% for 10 mg/kg, and 38.3% for chemotherapy), with similar trends observed for the individual functioning and symptoms scales.
CONCLUSIONS: HRQoL was better maintained with pembrolizumab than with chemotherapy in KEYNOTE-002, supporting the use of pembrolizumab in patients with ipilimumab-refractory melanoma.