Risk of selected dermatological toxicities in cancer patients treated with MEK inhibitors: a comparative systematic review and meta-analysis

Future Oncol. 2015;11(24):3307-19. doi: 10.2217/fon.15.265. Epub 2015 Nov 12.


Background: This meta-analysis was conducted aiming at assessing the risk of selected dermatological toxicities associated with MEK inhibitors.

Methods: We considered relevant prospective randomized Phase II and III trials of cancer patients on the three MEK inhibitors (trametinib, selumetinib and cobimetinib), describing events of skin rash and acneiform dermatitis, as eligible for inclusion.

Results: After exclusion of ineligible studies, a total of 14 clinical trials were considered eligible for the meta-analysis. The relative risk of all-grade skin rash and acneiform dermatitis was 1.71 (95% CI: 1.07-2.72; p = 0.02) and 6.55 (95% CI: 3.42-12.56; p < 0.00001), correspondingly; while the relative risk of high-grade skin rash and acneiform dermatitis was 2.64 (95% CI: 1.42-4.91; p = 0.002) and 8.44 (95% CI: 2.39-29.81; p = 0.0009), respectively.

Conclusion: Our meta-analysis has demonstrated that MEK inhibitor-based treatment is associated with an increased risk of all-grade and high-grade skin rash and acneiform dermatitis compared with control.

Keywords: MEK; acneiform dermatitis; cobimetinib; dermatitis; lung cancer; melanoma; rash; selumetinib; squamous cell carcinoma; trametinib.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Risk
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology
  • Skin Diseases / etiology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases