Dr. Burtness on Findings of KEYNOTE-048 in Head and Neck Cancer

Barbara Burtness, MD



Barbara Burtness, MD, professor of medicine, Yale Cancer Center, discusses findings from the KEYNOTE-048 in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

Interim findings from the phase III KEYNOTE-048 trial presented at the 2018 ESMO Congress showed that frontline pembrolizumab (Keytruda) monotherapy improved overall survival and duration of response versus standard therapy in patients with PD-L1–positive recurrent or metastatic HNSCC. There was not a similar improvement in progression-free survival or overall response rate with the PD-1 inhibitor, though.

This open-label, randomized study evaluated whether pembrolizumab could prolong survival and slow disease progression versus the standard of care EXTREME regimen in the recurrent or metastatic setting. EXTREME consists of platinum-based chemotherapy with cisplatin or carboplatin, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), and cetuximab (Erbitux).
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