The efficacy of adding panitumumab to chemotherapy remains controversial in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Thus, we conducted this meta-analysis to assess the efficacy and safety of this combination regimen in patients with mCRC.
The PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases were comprehensively searched. Eligible studies included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that estimated the efficacy of panitumumab with or without chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with mCRC. Hazard ratio (HR), risk ratio (RR), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated, and heterogeneity was tested using I 2 statistics.
Four studies involving a total of 3,066 patients were included in this meta-analysis. The addition of panitumumab to chemotherapy significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS) (HR =0.84, 95% CI =0.78–0.91, P=0.000) and the objective response rate (ORR) (RR =2.18, 95% CI =1.13–4.22, P=0.021) compared to chemotherapy alone, but no effect was noted on overall survival (OS) (HR =0.97, 95% CI =0.89–1.05, P=0.402). Subgroup analysis based on KRAS gene status revealed that the combined therapy significantly improved PFS (HR =0.71, 95% CI =0.57–0.88, P=0.002) and ORR (RR =2.43, 95% CI =1.21–4.90, P=0.013) in patients with wild-type KRAS tumors. Irinotecan-based chemotherapy plus panitumumab significantly prolonged PFS in patients with mCRC (HR =0.84, 95% CI =0.76–0.94, P=0.002). The combined treatment also increased the incidence of grade 3/4 adverse events.
This meta-analysis indicates that the combination of panitumumab and chemotherapy effectively improved PFS and ORR, but it did not prolong OS. However, as the number of studies in the meta-analysis was limited, more large-scale, better-designed RCTs are needed to assess the combination of panitumumab and chemotherapy.