Live cumulative network meta-analysis: protocol for second-line treatments in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer with wild-type or unknown status for epidermal growth factor receptor

BMJ Open. 2016 Aug 3;6(8):e011841. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011841.


Introduction: Many second-line treatments for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have been assessed in randomised controlled trials, but which treatments work the best remains unclear. Novel treatments are being rapidly developed. We need a comprehensive up-to-date evidence synthesis of all these treatments. We present the protocol for a live cumulative network meta-analysis (NMA) to address this need.

Methods and analysis: We will consider trials of second-line treatments in patients with advanced NSCLC with wild-type or unknown epidermal growth factor receptor status. We will consider any single agent of cytotoxic chemotherapy, targeted therapy, combination of cytotoxic chemotherapy and targeted therapy and any combination of targeted therapies. The primary outcomes will be overall survival and progression-free survival. The live cumulative NMA will be initiated with a NMA and then iterations will be repeated at regular intervals to keep the NMA up-to-date over time. We have defined the update frequency as 4 months, based on an assessment of the pace of evidence production on this topic. Each iteration will consist of six methodological steps: adaptive search for treatments and trials, screening of reports and selection of trials, data extraction, assessment of risk of bias, update of the network of trials and synthesis, and dissemination. We will set up a research community in lung cancer, with different groups of contributors of different skills. We will distribute tasks through online crowdsourcing. This proof-of-concept study in second-line treatments of advanced NSCLC will allow one for assessing the feasibility of live cumulative NMA and opening the path for this new form of synthesis.

Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval is not required because our study will not include confidential participant data and interventions. The description of all the steps and the results of this live cumulative NMA will be available online.

Trial registration number: CRD42015017592.

Keywords: Non-small cell lung cancer; crowdsourcing; systematic reviews.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Proof of Concept Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • ErbB Receptors