irAEs Linked to Improved Benefit From Pembrolizumab

October 09, 2019 by Elisa Becze BA, ELS, Editor

Patients with advanced melanoma who received adjuvant therapy with pembrolizumab and subsequently developed immune-related adverse events (irAEs) saw a 63% reduced risk of recurrence, compared to 44% for those who did not develop irAEs. The study findings were presented ( at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.

The patient sample was part of the EORTC 1325/KEYNOTE-054 clinical trial and consisted of 1,019 adults with complete resection of stage III metastatic melanoma. A total of 37.3% of the patients receiving pembrolizumab developed irAEs, mostly endocrine related. About 5% had vitiligo or rash. irAEs occurred in only 9% of those receiving placebo.

Patients receiving pembrolizumab who had irAEs had a significant reduction in hazard of recurrence or death (p = 0.028) compared to those without irAEs. “This study shows that for patients who have an immune-related adverse event with pembrolizumab, outcomes are almost twice as good as for those who do not,” the researchers reported.

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