Merck's endometrial cancer therapy fails trial

FILE PHOTO: The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Rahway, New Jersey, New Jersey

(Reuters) - Merck said on Thursday its therapy being tested in certain patients with a type of cancer in the uterus lining failed a late-stage trial.

The drugmaker's Keytruda therapy in combination with chemotherapy was being evaluated in about 1,095 patients with high-risk endometrial cancer after surgery.

The trial did not meet the main goal of disease-free survival, which is the length of time after primary treatment for a cancer ends that the patient survives without any signs or its symptoms.

The study's other main goal of overall survival was not formally tested since the trial failed in showing significant disease-free survival.

Endometrial cancer begins in the inner lining of the uterus, or endometrium, and is the most common type of the disease affecting the organ.

Merck's Keytruda belongs to a class of medicines called PD-1 inhibitors that work by increasing the ability of the body's immune system to detect and fight tumor cells.

Keytruda is currently approved in the United States for two indications in endometrial cancer, one of which is treated using it as a combination therapy with partner Eisai's drug Lenvima.

Endometrial cancer leads to more than 13,000 deaths in a year in the U.S., according to government data.

(This story has been refiled to remove a picture)

(Reporting by Christy Santhosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Shilpi Majumdar)