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Combination treatment with cetuximab in advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients: a meta-analysis

Authors Shen J, Sun C, Zhou M, Zhang Z

Received 1 November 2018

Accepted for publication 1 February 2019

Published 3 April 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 2477—2494

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S193039

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sanjeev Srivastava


Jia Shen,1,* Changling Sun,1,* Min Zhou,2 Zhen Zhang1,3

1Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Affiliated Hospital of Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanjing Medical University Affiliated Cancer Hospital, Nanjing, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Integrated Traditional Chinese Medicine & Western Medicine Oncology, Affiliated Hospital of Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: Cetuximab, an anti-epidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibody, carries the potential for combination treatment against nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). We conducted a meta-analysis to assess the possible benefits and safety between the combination treatment with cetuximab and conventional treatment in NPC patients. Skin toxicity (ST) associated with additional cetuximab was evaluated as well.
Methods: We performed a systematic search (PubMed, Embase, Cochrane library, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and WanFang Data) for studies comparing combination treatment with cetuximab versus conventional treatment in NPC patients. The selected studies included completely or partly reported clinical outcomes including survivals, complete and partial responses, and adverse reactions (ST). The pooled HR, relative risk (RR), and respective 95% CI were estimated by using fixed effects model or random effects model.
Results: A total of 23 relevant studies with available data were included in the final analysis. According to the pooled data, combination treatment with cetuximab showed improved efficacy on increased objective response rate (studies with cetuximab treatment: RR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.29–1.50; concurrent chemoradiotherapy with or without cetuximab: RR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.25–1.54) and prolonged survival (studies with cetuximab treatment: the pooled HR for OS was 0.70, 95% CI: 0.55–0.89; concurrent chemoradiotherapy with or without cetuximab: the pooled HR for OS was 0.64, 95% CI: 0.49–0.84) compared with conventional treatment. Moreover, the improved efficacy was invariably accompanied by an increased occurrence of ST (studies with cetuximab treatment: RR: 2.46, 95% CI: 1.81–3.34; concurrent chemoradiotherapy with or without cetuximab: RR: 1.84, 95% CI: 1.02–3.31). However, the majority of adverse reactions exhibited similar occurrence rates between the different treatments.
Conclusion: Patients with NPC receiving additional cetuximab treatment can benefit more from this systemic comprehensive therapy, while the efficiency of conventional treatment for NPC is limited. ST associated with cetuximab may be used as a potential on-treatment marker to guide treatment with cetuximab against NPC.

Keywords: nasopharyngeal carcinoma, cetuximab, combination treatment, clinical outcomes

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