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BMC Cancer. 2009 Jan 27;9:34. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-9-34.

Metastatic renal cell cancer treatments: an indirect comparison meta-analysis.

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Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.



Treatment for metastatic renal cell cancer (mRCC) has advanced dramatically with understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease. New treatment options may provide improved progression-free survival (PFS). We aimed to determine the relative effectiveness of new therapies in this field.


We conducted comprehensive searches of 11 electronic databases from inception to April 2008. We included randomized trials (RCTs) that evaluated bevacizumab, sorafenib, and sunitinib. Two reviewers independently extracted data, in duplicate. Our primary outcome was investigator-assessed PFS. We performed random-effects meta-analysis with a mixed treatment comparison analysis.


We included 3 bevacizumab (2 of bevacizumab plus interferon-a [IFN-a]), 2 sorafenib, 1 sunitinib, and 1 temsirolimus trials (total n = 3,957). All interventions offer advantages for PFS. Using indirect comparisons with interferon-alpha as the common comparator, we found that sunitinib was superior to both sorafenib (HR 0.58, 95% CI, 0.38-0.86, P = < 0.001) and bevacizumab + IFN-a (HR 0.75, 95% CI, 0.60-0.93, P = 0.001). Sorafenib was not statistically different from bevacizumab +IFN-a in this same indirect comparison analysis (HR 0.77, 95% CI, 0.52-1.13, P = 0.23). Using placebo as the similar comparator, we were unable to display a significant difference between sorafenib and bevacizumab alone (HR 0.81, 95% CI, 0.58-1.12, P = 0.23). Temsirolimus provided significant PFS in patients with poor prognosis (HR 0.69, 95% CI, 0.57-0.85).


New interventions for mRCC offer a favourable PFS for mRCC compared to interferon-alpha and placebo.

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