Merck reports that Keytruda (pembrolizumab) as monotherapy is now indicated for the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults whose tumors have high PD-L1 expression, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations and no prior systemic chemotherapy treatment.

A validated biomarker test to determine a patient’s tumor proportion score (TPS) enables physicians to determine the level of PD-L1 expression on a patient’s tumor cells. A PD-L1 expression on at least 50% of tumor cells (TPS ?50%) is associated with a higher response rate.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in Canada, which makes this new indication especially significant. We look forward to working with provinces and other jurisdictions to ensure that Canadians who need immunotherapy for first line treatment of metastatic NSCLC have rapid access to Keytruda,” said Chirfi Guindo, President and Managing Director, Merck Canada Inc.