Pembrolizumab versus physician-choice chemotherapy for previously treated patients with advanced/metastatic squamous or adenocarcinoma of the esoph...

Date 29 June 2016
Event ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer 2016
Session ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer 2016 - Abstracts book
Presenter Doi Toshihiko
Citation Annals of Oncology (2016) 27 (2): 1-85. 10.1093/annonc/mdw199
Authors D. Toshihiko1, B. Jaafar2, S. Lin3, E. Peter4, W. Ruixue5, C. Ildiko6, K. Minori6, S. Manish7
  • 1National Cancer Center Hospital East, Kashiwa, Japan, /
  • 2Institut de Cancérologie de l'Ouest, Nantes, France, /
  • 3Peking University Cancer Hospital & Institute, Beijing, China, /
  • 4Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, /
  • 5MSD China, Beijing, China, /
  • 6Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, USA, /
  • 7Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, USA, /


Programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) is frequently overexpressed in esophageal cancer, and its expression has been associated with poor prognosis. Thus, immunotherapy via PD-1/PD-L1 blockade may provide benefit for patients with esophageal cancer. Pembrolizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets the PD-1 receptor and blocks its interaction with both of its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby permitting activation of an antitumor cytotoxic immune response. In the multicohort, phase 1b KEYNOTE-028 study, pembrolizumab showed manageable toxicity, had an objective response rate (ORR) of 30.4%, and median duration of response was not reached in 23 patients with PD-L1-positive advanced esophageal cancer. The open-label, randomized, multicenter, phase 3 KEYNOTE-181 study (, NCT02564263) was designed to compare the efficacy of pembrolizumab to that of single-agent chemotherapy in previously treated patients with advanced/metastatic esophageal cancer.