The Efficacy and Safety of First-line Chemotherapy in Advanced Esophagogastric Cancer: A Network Meta-analysis

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Background: A globally accepted standard first-line chemotherapy regimen in advanced esophagogastric cancer (AEGC) is not clearly established. We conducted a systematic review to investigate the efficacy and safety of first-line chemotherapy using Network meta-analysis (NMA).

Methods: Medline, EMBASE, CENTRAL, and conferences were searched until June 2015 for randomized controlled trials that compared regimens containing: fluoropyrimidine (F), platinum (cisplatin [C] and oxaliplatin [Ox]), taxane (T), anthracycline (A), irinotecan (I), or methotrexate (M). Direct and indirect evidence for overall survival (OS) and progression-free-survival (PFS) were combined using random-effects NMA on the hazard ratio (HR) scale and calculated as combined hazard ratios and 95% credible intervals (CrIs).

Results: The NMA incorporated 17 chemotherapy regimens with 37 direct comparisons between regimens for OS (50 studies, n = 10 249) and 29 direct comparisons for PFS (34 studies, n = 7795). Combining direct and indirect effects showed increased efficacy for fluoropyrimidine noncisplatin doublets (F-doublets) over cisplatin doublets (C-doublets): FI vs CF (combined HR = 0.85, 95% CrI = 0.71 to 0.99), FOx vs CF (combined HR = 0.83, 95% CrI = 0.71 to 0.98) in OS and FOx vs CF (combined HR = 0.82, 95% CrI = 0.66 to 0.99) in PFS. Anthracycline-containing triplets (A-triplets: ACF, AFOx, AFM) and TCF triplet showed no benefit over F-doublets in OS and PFS. The triplet FOxT showed increased PFS vs F-doublets FT (combined HR = 0.61, 95% CrI = 0.38 to 0.99), FI (combined HR = 0.62, 95% CrI = 0.38 to 0.99), and FOx (combined HR = 0.67, 95% CrI = 0.44 to 0.99). Increased grade 3 to 4 toxicity was found for CF vs F-doublets, for ACF vs FI for TCF vs CF, and for FOxT vs FOx.

Conclusions: Based on efficacy and toxicity, F-doublets FOx, FI, and FT are preferred as first-line treatment for AEGC compared with C-doublets, A-triplets, and TCF. FOxT is the most promising triplet.

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