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BMC Cancer. 2012; 12: 89.
Published online 2012 March 13. doi:  10.1186/1471-2407-12-89
PMCID: PMC3350458

Addition of bevacizumab to first-line chemotherapy in advanced colorectal cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis, with emphasis on chemotherapy subgroups

Abstract

Background

Bevacizumab has an important role in first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. However, clinical trials studying its effect have involved distinct chemotherapy regimens with divergent results. The aim of this meta-analysis is to gather current data and evaluate not only the efficacy of bevacizumab, but also the impact of divergent backbone regimens.

Methods

A wide search of randomized clinical trials using bevacizumab in first-line metastatic colorectal cancer was performed in Embase, MEDLINE, LILACS and Cochrane databases. Meeting presentations and abstracts were also investigated. The resulting data were examined and included in the meta-analysis according to the type of regimen.

Results

Six trials, totaling 3060 patients, were analyzed. There was an advantage to using bevacizumab for overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) (HR = 0.84; CI: 0.77-0.91; P < 0.00001 and HR = 0.72; CI: 0.66-0.78; P < 0.00001, respectively). However, heterogeneity of results was very high for both outcomes, and subgroup analyses supported the OS advantage with bevacizumab restricted to irinotecan-based regimens. Infusional fluorouracil subsets involved a minor proportion, and did not demonstrate statistical benefit in PFS or OS. Regarding toxicity, higher rates of grades 3-4 hypertension, bleeding, thromboembolic events and proteinuria were uniformly observed with bevacizumab, leading to increased treatment interruptions (HR = 1.47; P = 0.0004).

Conclusions

Bevacizumab has efficacy in first-line treatment of advanced colorectal cancer, but the current data are insufficient to support efficacy in all regimens, especially infusional fluorouracil regimens, like FOLFIRI and FOLFOX.


Articles from BMC Cancer are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central