Pembrolizumab in adjuvant treatment of advanced melanoma

The results of the placebo controlled double blind phase III study Keynote 054 will be presented at the AACR annual meeting.

Melanoma is the tumor entity that was driving the development of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor treatments. In applying immune checkpoint inhibition in different treatment settings there is still a lot to be gained from harvesting transversal effects. Over the last five years stage three melanoma has been transformed from a terminal disease to a curable disease in 50% of the cases. The application of immune checkpoint inhibitors in adjuvant settings at an advanced stage however is still limited.

Adjuvant pembrolizumab in advanced melanoma

Currently the Keynote 054 trial investigates the effect of pembrolizumab in surgically resected melanoma as a monotherapy. An interim analysis of the data, dating from January 2018 is promising: the recurrence free survival was significantly improved, the safety profile was consistent with other studies envolving late stage melanoma patients.

Study leader sees “significant advancement”

“This result shows a significant advancement for patients that could potentially change the way melanoma is treated in the future,” said Alexander Eggermont, who will present the findings of the Keynote 054 study at the AACR annual meeting. The study will simultaneously be published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Session Link


Eggermont A.M.M., Robert C. (2018) Melanoma: Immunotherapy in Advanced Melanoma and in the Adjuvant Setting. In: Zitvogel L., Kroemer G. (eds) Oncoimmunology. Springer, Cham

Merck’s KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Significantly Improved Recurrence-Free Survival Compared to Placebo as Adjuvant Therapy in Patients with Stage 3 Resected High-Risk Melanoma (EORTC1325/KEYNOTE-054) Press release (accessed April 12 2018)