Efficacy and Safety of Gefitinib in Patients with Advanced Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Oncology, 2019, 2019
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© 2019 Xiaoxia Tang et al. Background. Trials on assessing the benefits of EGFR inhibitors in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients have gradually been published. Nevertheless, the benefits of gefitinib in advanced HNSCC are still unknown. Methods. The Cochrane library, PubMed, and EMBASE databases were systematically searched from the inception dates to 17 July 2017, 18 July 2017, and 19 July 2017, respectively. The keywords "head and neck" and gefitinib were used to retrieve in articles and abstracts. An additional search for recently published randomized trials was performed from July 17, 2017, to April 18, 2018. Then we assessed the risk of bias of the included studies based on the Cochrane "Risk of Bias" tool. Quantitative analysis was carried out to evaluate the overall survival (OS), progression free survival (PFS), overall response rate (ORR), and grade 3-4 adverse effects by Review Manager 5.0.2 and the quality-of-life was analyzed in the included studies. Results. Seven randomized controlled trials and a total number of 1287 patients were involved. There were no significant differences in OS, PFS, or ORR between gefitinib and no gefitinib group (HR 1.07, 95% CI 0.93 to 1.22, and P=0.35; HR 0.84, 95% CI 0.69 to 1.04, and P=0.11; RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.20, and P =0.60, respectively). However, gefitinib alone was equivalent to chemotherapeutics (i.e., methotrexate; methotrexate + fluorouracil) in ORR in patients with recurrent HNSCC, and a trend of improvement in QOL in gefitinib group was showed. Toxicities revealed no differences except for diarrhea and skin toxicity (p=0.0003; p=0.03, respectively). Conclusion. For patients with advanced HNSCC, gefitinib cannot prolong the OS and PFS or improve ORR, and odds of skin toxicity and diarrhea increased. However, gefitinib alone is equivalent to methotrexate or methotrexate + fluorouracil and tends to improve QOL for recurrent patients.
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