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J Cancer Res Ther. 2019;15(7):1435-1449. doi: 10.4103/jcrt.JCRT_577_18.

Risk of serious adverse event and fatal adverse event with molecular target anticancer drugs in cancer patients: A meta-analysis.

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Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, China.
CHESS Center, Institute of Portal Hypertension, The First Hospital of Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China.
Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Affiliated Xingtai Peoples Hospital of Hebei Medial University, Xingtai, China.
Institute of Hepatology, PLA Army General Hospital, Beijing, China.
School of Medicine, Tongji University, Shanghai, China.
Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Shunde Hospital, Southern Medical University, Foshan, China.


Molecular target anticancer drugs are commonly used in various forms of cancers. It is a concern that the risk of serious adverse events (SAEs) and fatal adverse events (FAEs) of molecular target drugs are increasing. An up-to-date meta-analysis of all Phase II/III/IV randomized trials of molecular target anticancer drugs was conducted to calculate the increased risk of SAEs and FAEs. A systematic search of PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library up to April 6, 2017, was conducted. The study enrolled Phase II/III/IV randomized trials of cancer that compared molecular target drugs alone versus placebo or performed single-arm analysis of molecular target drugs. Data on SAEs and FAEs were extracted from the included studies and pooled to compute risk ratio (RR), the overall incidence, and 95% confidence interval (CI). In this meta-analysis, a total of 19,965 and 26,642 patients in randomized 53 and 65 Phase II/II/IV trials were included in the analysis of SAEs and FAEs associated with molecular target anticancer drug, respectively. There were significant differences in the relationship of molecular target anticancer drugs with SAEs (RR = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.35-1.82, P < 0.01, I2 = 81%) and FAEs (RR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.19-1.91, P < 0.01, I2 = 0%) compared to placebo. The overall incidence of SAEs and FAEs was 0.269 (95% CI = 0.262-0.276, P < 0.01) and 0.023 (95% CI = 0.020-0.025, P < 0.01), respectively. Molecular target anticancer drugs significantly increased the risk of SAEs and FAEs. For patients taking molecular target drugs, efforts are needed to prevent the occurrence of SAEs and FAEs.


Cancer; fatal adverse event; molecular target anticancer therapy; serious adverse event

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