Background: Metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) that harbours a BRAF V600E mutation (BRAF MT) is associated with poorer outcomes. However, whether this mutation is predictive of treatment benefit from anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is uncertain.
Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published up to July 2014 that evaluated the effect of BRAF MT on the treatment benefit from anti-EGFR mAbs for mCRC.
Results: Seven RCTs met the inclusion criteria for assessment of overall survival (OS), whereas eight RCTs met the inclusion criteria for assessment of progression-free survival (PFS). For RAS WT/BRAF MT tumours, the hazard ratio for OS benefit with anti-EGFR mAbs was 0.97 (95% CI; 0.67-1.41), whereas the hazard ratio was 0.81 (95% CI; 0.70-0.95) for RAS WT/BRAF WT tumours. However, the test of interaction (P=0.43) was not statistically significant, highlighting that the observed differences in the effect of anti-EGFR mAbs on OS according to the BRAF mutation status may be due to chance alone. Regarding PFS benefit with anti-EGFR mAbs, the hazard ratio was 0.86 (95% CI; 0.61-1.21) for RAS WT/BRAF MT tumours as compared with 0.62 (95% CI; 0.50-0.77) for RAS WT/BRAF WT tumours (test of interaction, P=0.07).
Interpretation: This meta-analysis demonstrates that there is insufficient evidence to definitively state that RAS WT/BRAF MT individuals attain a different treatment benefit from anti-EGFR mAbs for mCRC compared with RAS WT/BRAF WT individuals. As such, there are insufficient data to justify the exclusion of anti-EGFR mAb therapy for patients with RAS WT/BRAF MT mCRC.