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Tumour Biol. 2014 Sep;35(9):9419-27. doi: 10.1007/s13277-014-2189-1. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

Hemorrhagic events in cancer patients treated with aflibercept: a meta-analysis.

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Department of Thoracic Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China.


Aflibercept (Ziv-aflibercept, VEGF Trap, AVE005) is an engineered protein that functions as a decoy receptor to bind vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). Hemorrhagic events, including epistaxis, gastrointestinal bleeding, and pulmonary bleeding, is one of its major adverse effects, but the incidence rate and overall risk has not been systematically studied. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis of published clinical trials to investigate the incidence and relative risk of hemorrhagic events in cancer patients treated with aflibercept. Electronic databases including PubMed, Embase, Cochrane databases, and American Society of Clinical Oncology abstracts were searched. Eligible studies were phase II and III prospective clinical trials of cancer patients treated with aflibercept with toxicity profile on hemorrhagic events. Overall incidence rates, relative risk (RR), and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using fixed or random effects models depending on the heterogeneity of the included studies. A total of 4,538 patients with a variety of solid tumors from 13 prospective clinical trials were included for the meta-analysis. The overall incidences of all-grade and high-grade hemorrhagic events in cancer patients were 22.1 % (95 % CI, 16.5-29.7 %) and 4.2 % (95 % CI, 3.9-4.6 %), respectively. The relative risks of hemorrhagic events of aflibercept compared to control were increased for all-grade (RR = 2.63; 95 % CI, 2.07-3.34) and high-grade (RR = 2.45, 95 % CI, 1.62-3.72) hemorrhagic events. The risk of developing high-grade hemorrhagic events with aflibercept was comparable to that of bevacizumab (RR = 1.26; 95 % CI, 0.89-1.79). Aflibercept is associated with an increased risk of developing hemorrhagic events in patients with solid tumors. Close monitoring and management of hemorrhagic events are recommended.

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