Merck’s Keytruda fails head and neck cancer trial

Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) said on Wednesday its cancer therapy Keytruda failed to meet the main goal of a late-stage trial testing it in patients with head and neck cancer.

The company said Keytruda, its blockbuster cancer drug, in combination with chemoraditation therapy showed improvement in event-free survival, or the period of time a patient remains free of complications compared to a placebo.

However, the results did not meet statistical significance.

Keytruda showed a safety profile similar to previously reported studies, according to Merck.

The drug belongs to a class of treatments called PD-1 inhibitors, which work by boosting the immune system’s ability to fight cancer cells.