for people ages 12 years and up (full criteria)
at La Jolla, California and other locations
study started
completion around



This 2-part study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of pembrolizumab (MK-3475) compared to placebo in participants with surgically resected high-risk Stage II melanoma. Participants in Part 1 will receive either pembrolizumab or placebo in a double-blind design every 3 weeks (Q3W) for up to 17 cycles/~1 year (each cycle = 21 days). Participants who complete the initial treatment of 17 cycles of pembrolizumab in Part 1 and experience disease recurrence may be eligible for re-challenge with pembrolizumab at the same dose and schedule of 200 mg Q3W (21-day cycles) for up to 35 cycles (up to ~2 years) in Part 2 in an open label design. Participants who complete the initial treatment of placebo and experience disease recurrence may be eligible to switch over to pembrolizumab 200 mg Q3W (21-day cycles) for up to 35 cycles (up to ~2 years) in Part 2 in an open label design. The primary hypothesis of this study is that pembrolizumab increases recurrence-free survival (RFS) compared to placebo.

Per protocol, response/ progression or adverse events (AEs) during re-challenge/switch-over in Part 2 will not be counted towards the RFS outcome measure or safety outcome measures respectively.

Official Title

Adjuvant Therapy With Pembrolizumab Versus Placebo in Resected High-risk Stage II Melanoma: A Randomized, Double-blind Phase 3 Study (KEYNOTE-716)


Melanoma, Programmed Cell Death-1 (PD1, PD-1), Programmed Cell Death 1 Ligand 1(PDL1, PD-L1), Programmed Cell Death 1 Ligand 2 (PDL2, PD-L2), Pembrolizumab


For people ages 12 years and up


  • Has surgically resected and histologically/pathologically confirmed new diagnosis of Stage IIB or IIC cutaneous melanoma per American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) 8th edition guidelines
  • Has not been previously treated for melanoma beyond complete surgical resection
  • Has ≤12 weeks between final surgical resection and randomization
  • Has no evidence of metastatic disease on imaging as determined by investigator
  • Has a performance status of 0 or 1 on the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Scale or Lansky Play-Performance Scale (LPS) score ≥50 for participants ≤16 years old, or a Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score ≥50 for participants >16 and <18 years old
  • Has recovered adequately from toxicity and/or complications from surgery prior to study start
  • Female participants must not be pregnant or breastfeeding, and must agree to use contraception during the treatment period and for at least 120 days after the last dose of study treatment if they are women of childbearing potential (WOCBP)


  • Has a known additional malignancy that is progressing or has required active antineoplastic therapy (including hormonal) within the past 5 years with the exception of basal cell carcinoma of the skin, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, or carcinoma in situ (e.g., breast carcinoma, cervical cancer in situ) that have undergone potentially curative therapy
  • Has a diagnosis of immunodeficiency or is receiving chronic systemic steroid therapy or any other form of immunosuppressive therapy within 7 days prior to the first dose of study treatment
  • WOCBP who has a positive urine pregnancy test within 72 hours prior to randomization. If the urine test is positive or cannot be confirmed as negative, a serum pregnancy test will be required
  • Has received prior therapy with an anti-Programmed Cell Death Receptor 1 (PD-1), anti-Programmed Cell Death Receptor Ligand 1 (PD-L1) or anti-Programmed Cell Death Receptor Ligand 2 (PD-L2) agent or with an agent directed to another stimulatory or coinhibitory T-cell receptor (e.g., cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 [CTLA-4], OX-40, CD137)
  • Has received prior systemic anti-cancer therapy for melanoma including investigational agents
  • Has received a live vaccine within 30 days prior to the first dose of study treatment
  • Is currently participating in or has participated in a study of an investigational agent or has used an investigational device within 4 weeks prior to the first dose of study treatment
  • Has severe hypersensitivity (≥Grade 3) to any excipients of pembrolizumab
  • Has an active autoimmune disease that has required systemic treatment in the past 2 years
  • Has a history of (non-infectious) pneumonitis that required steroids or has current pneumonitis
  • Has an active infection requiring systemic therapy
  • Has a known history of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
  • Has a known history of hepatitis B (defined as hepatitis B surface antigen reactive) or known active hepatitis C virus (defined as hepatitis C virus ribonucleic acid [RNA] [qualitative] is detected) infection
  • Has a history of active tuberculosis (Bacillus tuberculosis)
  • Has a history or current evidence of any condition, therapy, or laboratory abnormality that might confound the results of the study, interfere with the participant's participation for the full duration of the study, or is not in the best interest of the participant to participate, in the opinion of the treating investigator
  • Has a known psychiatric or substance abuse disorder that would interfere with the participant's ability to cooperate with the requirements of the study
  • Has had an allogeneic tissue/solid organ transplant


  • UCSD Moores Cancer Center ( Site 0133)
    La Jolla California 92037 United States
  • UCLA Hematology & Oncology ( Site 0130)
    Los Angeles California 90095 United States


in progress, not accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC
Merck Clinical Trials Information Plain Language Summary
Phase 3 Skin Cancer/Melanoma Research Study
Study Type
About 976 people participating
Last Updated