Pembrolizumab in combination with lenvatinib is in clinical development for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced melanoma (skin cancer), which is unresectable or metastatic (stage III and IV). Malignant melanoma occurs due to the uncontrolled division of skin cells (melanocytes). Cancer is metastatic when it has spread to other parts of the body and unresectable if it cannot be removed via surgery. Melanoma is characterised by the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole, and general symptoms include weight loss, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
Pembrolizumab is an immunotherapy, meaning it stimulates the body’s immune system by triggering T-cells (a type of white blood cells) to find and kill cancer cells. Lenvatinib is a targeted therapy drug that inhibits cancer growth by preventing the formation of new blood vessels. These drugs modulate different aspects of tumour biology, combining them, may result in improved efficacy and help overcome resistance to immunotherapy. Pembrolizumab in combination with lenvatinib (pembrolizumab administered intravenously and lenvatinib administered orally) would offer an additional first-line treatment option for previously untreated and unresectable advanced melanoma.