Merck melanoma drug shrinks tumors in 38 percent of patients

An article released yesterday on the Merck Anti-PD1 clinical trial results can be found HERE.

I am on the Merck drug, currently receiving the low dose.  Last time I was in for treatment they also informed they are adding several seats to this trial including changing the dosing schedule (right now I get it every 3 weeks but they are adding a schedule for every 2 weeks also!). 

As I posted in my one of my previous entries:


Merck's results are from the first clinical trial of lambrolizumab in advanced melanoma. They are based on analysis of 135 patients with metastatic melanoma who were divided into three groups with different treatment regimens.

Overall, lambrolizumab resulted in 38 percent of patients having confirmed improvement of their cancer across all dose levels given after 12 weeks of treatment. But there was a wide range among doses, with only a 25 percent rate among patients who got the lowest dose and 52 percent among those who got the highest dose. In the highest dose group, 10 percent had a complete response, meaning their tumors could not be detected on scans.

Side effects were generally mild and included fatigue, fevers, skin rash, loss of skin color and muscle weakness. More severe side effects were seen in 13 percent of patients, including inflammation of the lung or kidney and thyroid problems.

"This study is showing the highest rate of durable melanoma responses of any drug we have tested thus far in this cancer, and it is doing it without serious side effects in the great majority of patients," Ribas said.

This is pretty amazing stuff.  I know that folks will think that 38% isn't that great, but when traditional treatments were seeing just 15-20% responses with long term remission around 5% of patients - this is a HUGE step forward!


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  1. So glad you are doing man just timed his recurrence well....we will be discussing our treatment path for the summer next week.

    Thank you for posting this...I am happily absorbing all the good news from ASCO.

    Health and happiness and durable responses to us all!

  2. Cheryl - sorry to hear about the recurrence! but lots of good options out there right now (hopefully!). Sounds like you'll be putting a plan together!

    I'll slowly be adding more updates and results from the information presented here at ASCO... just a bit behind :) Keep me posted on how things go!

    And yes, health and happiness and durable responses to all!

  3. So wonderful that you are there in the action! (Our oncologist, the amazing Dr. William Grosh of UVA, is there as well.

    Love how you state options so much better now than 5 years ago....SO true! When my husband was first diagnosed (as Stage 2a when our twins were 4) back in 2005, treatment options were SO limited. Now (he's been Stage 4 over a year now), nearly 8 years later (our twins are now 11!), we actually have the possibility of making CHOICES based on his unique case and will still have "back ups" in the medicine chest for if options selected don't provide the results for which we are hoping.

    SO grateful. SO hopeful. SO optimistic. For all of us! Let's do keep in'll be in our thoughts and prayers.

    Thanks for the great reporting from ASCO!

  4. Hi Erin,

    Hope you are doing well.

    I came across your blog through my research and have found your blog very insightful

    My wife is a young cancer survivor like you ( currently undergoing treatment for her ovarian cancer recurrence ) and we live in jersey city as well.

    Would love to connect with you at your convenience in the near future .

    Thanks again