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Efficacy of targeted agents in the treatment of elderly patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Authors Chen J, Chen J, Wu X, Shi T, Kang M

Received 16 November 2015

Accepted for publication 10 March 2016

Published 2 August 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 4797—4803


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Ram Prasad

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr William Cho

Jianqing Chen, Jianbo Chen, Xiaoan Wu, Tao Shi, Meiling Kang

Department of Medical Oncology, The Affiliated Chenggong Hospital, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian Province, People’s Republic of China

The efficacy of targeted agents (TAs) in the treatment of elderly patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains controversial. We aimed to assess the efficacy of TAs in the treatment of advanced NSCLC in this setting.
Materials and methods: Relevant trials were identified by searching electronic databases and conference meetings. Prospective randomized controlled trials assessing chemotherapies with or without TAs in elderly patients with advanced NSCLC were included. Outcomes of interest included overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in elderly patients with advanced NSCLC.
Results: A total of 4,093 elderly patients from 17 randomized controlled trials were included for analysis. The addition of TAs to chemotherapy significantly improved PFS (hazard ratio [HR] 0.85, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.75–0.96, P=0.01) when compared to chemotherapy alone. There was also a tendency to improve OS in the combination groups (HR 0.92, 95% CI: 0.85–1.01, P=0.064). Subgroup analysis based on treatment line indicated that TAs plus chemotherapy as first-line chemotherapy in elderly patients with advanced NSCLC significantly improved PFS (HR 0.80, 95% CI: 0.68–0.95, P=0.01) and OS (HR 0.91, 95% CI: 0.83–0.99, P=0.037), while the use of TA-containing regimens as second-line therapy in these patients did not significantly improve PFS (HR 0.91, 95% CI: 0.75–1.10, P=0.33) and OS (HR 1.04, 95% CI: 0.81–1.33, P=0.77) in comparison with chemotherapy alone. No publication bias was detected by Begg’s and Egger’s tests for OS.
Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that the addition of TAs to first-line chemotherapy in elderly patients with advanced NSCLC offers an improved PFS and OS. Further trials are recommended to clearly investigate the efficacy of adding specific TAs to first-line chemotherapy for advanced NSCLC in this setting.

Keywords: non-small-cell lung cancer, elderly, targeted agents, randomized controlled trials, meta-analysis

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