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Eisai: LENVIMA (lenvatinib) Plus KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Approved in Japan for Radically Unresectable or Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma

TOKYO and KENILWORTH, N.J., Feb 25, 2022 - (JCN Newswire) - Eisai and Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) today announced that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has approved the combination of LENVIMA, the orally available multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor discovered by Eisai, plus KEYTRUDA, the anti-PD-1 therapy from Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A., for radically unresectable or metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA is also approved in the U.S. and Europe for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced RCC. This marks the second approval of this combination in Japan; in December 2021, LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA was approved for unresectable, advanced or recurrent endometrial carcinoma that progressed after chemotherapy. The approval is based on results from the pivotal Phase 3 CLEAR (Study 307)/KEYNOTE-581 trial, in which LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA demonstrated statistically significant improvements versus sunitinib in the primary efficacy outcome measure of progression-free survival (PFS). Results showed LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA (n=355) reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 61% (HR=0.39 [95% CI, 0.32-0.49]; p<0.0001), with a median PFS of 23.9 months versus 9.2 months for sunitinib (n=357).

"Nearly one in three cases of renal cell carcinoma are diagnosed at an advanced stage,(1) and patients are in need of new treatment options that may improve survival outcomes,(2)" said Dr. Gregory Lubiniecki, Vice President, Oncology Clinical Research, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth,

N.J., U.S.A. Research Laboratories. "In the CLEAR/KEYNOTE-581 trial, KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 61% versus sunitinib, a current standard of care. We are encouraged that patients with certain types of advanced renal cell carcinoma may have the opportunity to benefit from this combination."

"Today's milestone for LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA as a treatment for radically unresectable or metastatic renal cell carcinoma is particularly exciting as it marks the second approval for the combination in Japan," said Terushige Iike, President of Eisai Japan, Senior Vice President, Eisai. "We are thrilled to be able to provide Japanese patients with a new treatment option, illustrating our shared commitment with Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. to develop therapies with the aim of addressing the unmet needs of those living with difficult-to-treat cancers. We would like to thank the patients, families and healthcare providers who made this approval possible."

The Japanese package inserts for LENVIMA and KEYTRUDA note that in the CLEAR/KEYNOTE-581 trial, adverse reactions were observed in 341 (96.9%) of 352 patients (including 42 of 42 Japanese patients) in the safety analysis set. The most common adverse reactions included diarrhea in 192 patients (54.5%), hypertension in 184 patients (52.3%), hypothyroidism in 150 patients (42.6%), decreased appetite in 123 patients (34.9%), fatigue in 113 patients (32.1%), stomatitis in 113 patients (32.1%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome in 99 patients (28.1%), proteinuria in 97 patients (27.6%), nausea in 94 patients (26.7%), dysphonia in 87 patients (24.7%), rash in 77 patients (21.9%), and asthenia in 71 patients (20.2%).

Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer worldwide; about nine out of 10 kidney cancer diagnoses are RCC.(3) In Japan, there were more than 25,000 new cases of kidney cancer diagnosed and more than 8,000 deaths from the disease in 2020.(4) Approximately 30% of patients with RCC will have metastatic disease at diagnosis.(5) Survival is highly dependent on the stage at diagnosis, and with a five-year survival rate of 14% for patients diagnosed with metastatic disease, the prognosis for these patients is poor.(6)

Eisai and Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. continue to study the LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA combination across several types of cancer with more than 20 clinical trials.

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