Treatment for gastrointestinal and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours: a network meta-analysis
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BackgroundSeveral available therapies for neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) have demonstrated efficacy in randomised controlled trials. However, translation of these results into improved care faces several challenges, as a direct comparison of the most pertinent therapies is incomplete.
ObjectivesTo evaluate the safety and efficacy of therapies for NETs, to guide clinical decision-making, and to provide estimates of relative efficiency of the different treatment options (including placebo) and rank the treatments according to their efficiency based on a network meta-analysis.
Search methodsWe identified studies through systematic searches of the following bibliographic databases: the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in the Cochrane Library; MEDLINE (Ovid); and Embase from January 1947 to December 2020. In addition, we checked trial registries for ongoing or unpublished eligible trials and manually searched for abstracts from scientific and clinical meetings.
Selection criteriaWe evaluated randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing two or more therapies in people with NETs (primarily gastrointestinal and pancreatic).
Data collection and analysisTwo review authors independently selected studies and extracted data to a pre-designed data extraction form. Multi-arm studies were included in the network meta-analysis using the R-package netmeta. We separately analysed two different outcomes (disease control and progression-free survival) and two types of NET (gastrointestinal and pancreatic NET) in four network meta-analyses. A frequentist approach was used to compare the efficacy of therapies.
Main resultsWe identified 55 studies in 90 records in the qualitative analysis, reporting 39 primary RCTs and 16 subgroup analyses. We included 22 RCTs, with 4299 participants, that reported disease control and/or progression-free survival in the network meta-analysis. Precision-of-treatment estimates and estimated heterogeneity were limited, although the risk of bias was predominantly low. The network meta-analysis of progression-free survival found nine therapies for pancreatic NETs: everolimus (hazard ratio [HR], 0.36 [95% CI, 0.28 to 0.46]), interferon plus somatostatin analogue (HR, 0.34 [95% CI, 0.14 to 0.80]), everolimus plus somatostatin analogue (HR, 0.38 [95% CI, 0.26 to 0.57]), bevacizumab plus somatostatin analogue (HR, 0.36 [95% CI, 0.15 to 0.89]), interferon (HR, 0.41 [95% CI, 0.18 to 0.94]), sunitinib (HR, 0.42 [95% CI, 0.26 to 0.67]), everolimus plus bevacizumab plus somatostatin analogue (HR, 0.48 [95% CI, 0.28 to 0.83]), surufatinib (HR, 0.49 [95% CI, 0.32 to 0.76]), and somatostatin analogue (HR, 0.51 [95% CI, 0.34 to 0.77]); and six therapies for gastrointestinal NETs: 177-Lu-DOTATATE plus somatostatin analogue (HR, 0.07 [95% CI, 0.02 to 0.26]), everolimus plus somatostatin analogue (HR, 0.12 [95%CI, 0.03 to 0.54]), bevacizumab plus somatostatin analogue (HR, 0.18 [95% CI, 0.04 to 0.94]), interferon plus somatostatin analogue (HR, 0.23 [95% CI, 0.06 to 0.93]), surufatinib (HR, 0.33 [95%CI, 0.12 to 0.88]), and somatostatin analogue (HR, 0.34 [95% CI, 0.16 to 0.76]), with higher efficacy than placebo. Besides everolimus for pancreatic NETs, the results suggested an overall superiority of combination therapies, including somatostatin analogues. The results indicate that NET therapies have a broad range of risk for adverse events and effects on quality of life, but these were reported inconsistently. Evidence from this network meta-analysis (and underlying RCTs) does not support any particular therapy (or combinations of therapies) with respect to patient-centred outcomes (e.g. overall survival and quality of life).
Authors' conclusionsThe findings from this study suggest that a range of efficient therapies with different safety profiles is available for people with NETs.
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