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Epacadostat plus Keytruda® Effective in Melanoma

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The treatment combination consisting of epacadostat plus Keytruda (pembrolizumab) appears effective in the treatment of advanced melanoma. However, longer follow-up is necessary to truly determine the effectiveness of this treatment combination as epacadostat is an agent still in early phases of clinical trials.


Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that often starts in the form of a mole. If detected and treated early, melanoma has a high cure rate. However, once melanoma spreads from its site of origin, cure rates fall dramatically.
Fortunately, treatment for melanoma has been progressing and including effective treatments that stimulate the immune system and/or target individual genetic mutations specific to a patient’s cancer cells.


Keytruda is an agent that is FDA-approved, and works by stimulating the immune system to recognize cancer cells. Epacadostat is an agent that blocks an enzyme called ID01 which is implicated in the growth and spread of cancer cells.


Researchers recently conducted an early-phase clinical trial evaluating the combination of pembrolizumab and epacadostat in the treatment of 19 patients with melanoma that has spread to distant sites in the body. Patients had not received prior therapy. All patients in this trial have been followed for a median of 42 weeks.


• Melanoma did not progress while on treatment in 74% of patients
• 58% of patients experienced a regression of their cancer
• Median survival time with no progression of cancer has not yet been reached
• Treatment was well tolerated


These results indicate that the treatment combination of pembrolizumab plus epacadostat appear to provide effective and durable anti-cancer responses among patients with advanced melanoma. Longer follow-up and future clinical trials further evaluating this treatment combination are planned to determine its long-term safety and effectiveness.

Reference: Incyte. Press Release. Updated Phase 1 Data Reinforce the Clinical Profile of Epacadostat in Combination with Keytruda® (Pembrolizumab). Available at: http://www.incyte.com/ir/press-releases.aspx. Accessed November 19, 2016.