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Merck's Anti-TIGIT Treatment Fails to Show Efficacy in Mid-stage Lung Cancer Study

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Medriva Correspondents
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Merck's Anti-TIGIT Treatment Fails to Show Efficacy in Mid-stage Lung Cancer Study

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Merck recently announced disappointing results from a mid-stage study involving its experimental treatment, vibostolimab, in combination with Keytruda, for treating metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The therapy failed to meet its primary goal of slowing disease progression and improving overall survival, striking a significant blow to the growing field of anti-TIGIT treatments.

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A Closer Look at the Phase 2 KeyVibe 002 Trial

The Phase 2 KeyVibe 002 trial evaluated an investigational coformulation of vibostolimab and pembrolizumab in patients who had previously received treatment for metastatic NSCLC. The combination therapy, with the addition of docetaxel, extended median progression-free survival (PFS) by 2.4 months compared to patients treated with docetaxel alone. Despite this, the results failed to reach statistical significance.

According to data presented during a poster session at the 2023 European Society of Medical Oncology Immuno-Oncology Annual Congress, the trial also investigated secondary endpoints, which included overall survival (OS), overall response rate (ORR), and duration of response (DOR).

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Implications for the Lucrative Cancer Treatment Market

The letdown comes as the second major setback for companies exploring anti-TIGIT treatments. The therapy was believed to help cancer cells evade detection by the immune system, a concept that has been a focal point of cancer research. This failure has the potential to impact the lucrative cancer treatment market significantly.

Merck's Journey with Keytruda

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Merck has been on a quest to enhance the effectiveness of its PD-1 inhibitor, Keytruda, in treating NSCLC. Previous attempts included adding Lynparza as a maintenance treatment for patients with newly diagnosed metastatic squamous NSCLC. However, this combination also did not deliver improved outcomes.

Looking Forward: Merck's Future Trials

Despite the setback, Merck is not retreating from its research into anti-TIGIT treatments. The company is currently engaged in Phase III studies and will use the data from the Phase II KeyVibe-002 trial to guide their program. The results, while disappointing, will provide valuable insights that will hopefully lead to more effective treatments in the future.

While the road to finding effective cancer treatments is often fraught with challenges and setbacks, each study and trial brings scientists closer to understanding the complex mechanisms of cancer growth and survival. This knowledge, in turn, brings us one step closer to a world where cancer can be effectively managed, if not completely cured.

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