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KEYNOTE-522 Demonstrates Potential for Immunotherapy in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Hope S. Rugo, MD
Published Online:8:29 PM, Thu October 31, 2019

Hope S. Rugo, MD, director of Breast Oncology Clinical Trials Investigation at the University of California, San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the potential role of immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), based on data from the KEYNOTE-522 clinical trial. Immunotherapy has been very exciting in this setting, Rugo says.

There was a marked improvement in pathologic complete response (pCR) rates with the addition of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) to standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the KEYNOTE-522 trial. This trial was uniquely powered for event-free survival in 1200 patients with TNBC.

This trial showed a significant improvement in pCR with the addition of pembrolizumab in the range of 64% to 65%. This was really encouraging, says Rugo, as these rates are higher than what’s been observed with the addition of platinum.

The toxicity of this combination was quite manageable, Rugo adds. Although it is too early to say, Rugo suggested that there may have been fewer events observed in the group of patients that received pembrolizumab.
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