Background: Cetuximab has a favorable effect on patients with metastatic colorectal cancer harboring wild K-ras gene. This meta-analysis was planned to quantify the benefit.
Methods: A meta-analysis of clinical studies that have used cetuximab-based therapy (CBT) for patients with known K-ras status.
Results: There were four randomized studies (RS) that compared CBT versus non-cetuximab control (NCC) in 2,292 patients, and six non-randomized studies (NRS) included patients received cetuximab after failure of prior chemotherapy (411 patients). Patients in RS with wild K-ras tumor gained more benefit from CBT vs. NCC. For response rate (RR), the odds ratio was 2.10 (p = 0.0002), while the hazard ratio (HR) for progression-free survival (PFS) was 0.64 (p = 0.04). On the other hand, CBT was associated with an adverse effect on RR and no effect on PFS in mutated K-ras. In all patients who received CBT in RS and NRS, those with wild vs. mutated K-ras demonstrated higher RR (odds ratio 3.72; p < 0.0001). Compared with NCC in three RS, CBT showed significant overall survival (OS) advantage in patients with wild K-ras (HR = 0.68; p = 0.01).
Conclusions: The significant clinical benefit of CBT concerning RR, PFS, and OS was restricted to patients with wild-type K-ras. There is a need to better define potential responders to CBT.