Longer Follow-Up Confirms Recurrence-Free Survival Benefit of Adjuvant Pembrolizumab in High-Risk Stage III Melanoma: Updated Results From the EORTC 1325-MG/KEYNOTE-054 Trial

Alexander M. M. Eggermont, Christian U. Blank, Mario Mandala, Georgina V. Long, Victoria G. Atkinson, Stéphane Dalle, Andrew M. Haydon, Andrey Meshcheryakov, Adnan Khattak, Matteo S. Carlino, Shahneen Sandhu, James Larkin, Susana Puig, Paolo A. Ascierto, Piotr Rutkowski, Dirk Schadendorf, Rutger Koornstra, Leonel Hernandez-Aya, Anna Maria di Giacomo, Alfonsus J. M. van den EertweghJean-Jacques Grob, Ralf Gutzmer, Rahima Jamal, Paul C. Lorigan, Alexander C. J. van Akkooi, Clemens Krepler, Nageatte Ibrahim, Sandrine Marreaud, Michal Kicinski, Stefan Suciu, Caroline Robert

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PURPOSE We conducted the phase III double-blind European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) 1325/KEYNOTE-054 trial to evaluate pembrolizumab versus placebo in patients with resected high-risk stage III melanoma. On the basis of 351 recurrence-free survival (RFS) events at a 1.25-year median follow-up, pembrolizumab prolonged RFS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.57; P,.0001) compared with placebo. This led to the approval of pembrolizumab adjuvant treatment by the European Medicines Agency and US Food and Drug Administration. Here, we report an updated RFS analysis at the 3.05-year median follow-up. PATIENTS AND METHODS A total of 1,019 patients with complete lymph node dissection of American Joint Committee on Cancer Staging Manual (seventh edition; AJCC-7), stage IIIA (at least one lymph node metastasis. 1 mm), IIIB, or IIIC (without in-transit metastasis) cutaneous melanoma were randomly assigned to receive pembrolizumab at a flat dose of 200 mg (n 5 514) or placebo (n 5 505) every 3 weeks for 1 year or until disease recurrence or unacceptable toxicity. The two coprimary end points were RFS in the overall population and in those with programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1)-positive tumors. RESULTS Pembrolizumab (190 RFS events) compared with placebo (283 RFS events) resulted in prolonged RFS in the overall population (3-year RFS rate, 63.7% v 44.1% for pembrolizumab v placebo, respectively; HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.68) and in the PD-L1-positive tumor subgroup (HR, 0.57; 99% CI, 0.43 to 0.74). The impact of pembrolizumab on RFS was similar in subgroups, in particular according to AJCC-7 and AJCC-8 staging, and BRAF mutation status (HR, 0.51 [99% CI, 0.36 to 0.73] v 0.66 [99% CI, 0.46 to 0.95] for V600 E/K v wild type). CONCLUSION In resected high-risk stage III melanoma, pembrolizumab adjuvant therapy provided a sustained and clinically meaningful improvement in RFS at 3-year median follow-up. This improvement was consistent across subgroups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3925-3936
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2020

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