Indirect Comparisons of Efficacy between Combination Approaches in Metastatic Hormone-sensitive Prostate Cancer: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis

Eur Urol. 2020 Mar;77(3):365-372. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2019.09.004. Epub 2019 Nov 1.


Context: There have been substantial changes in the management of men with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (mHSPC) over the past 5 yr, with upfront combination therapies replacing androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) alone. A range of therapies have entered the space with no clear answer regarding their comparative efficacy.

Objective: To perform a systematic review and network meta-analysis to characterise the comparative efficacy of combination approaches in men with mHSPC.

Evidence acquisition: We searched multiple databases and abstracts of major meetings up to June 2019 for randomised trials of patients receiving first-line therapy for metastatic disease, a combination of ADT and one (or more) of taxane-based chemotherapy, and androgen receptor-targeted therapies. The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS) and we evaluated progression-free survival as a secondary outcome. We performed subgroup analysis based on the volume of disease.

Evidence synthesis: We found seven trials that met our eligibility criteria using either docetaxel, abiraterone acetate, enzalutamide, or apalutamide in combination with ADT. All agents in combination with ADT were shown to be superior to ADT alone; enzalutamide + ADT had the lowest absolute hazard ratio compared with ADT only (hazards ratio 0.53, 95% confidence interval 0.37-0.75), and an estimated 76.9% probability that it is the preferred treatment to prolong OS compared with other combination treatments, or with ADT alone. Enzalutamide appeared to have better OS compared with docetaxel in men with low-volume disease, but there was no difference in other comparisons.

Conclusions: Combination therapy with any of docetaxel, abiraterone acetate, enzalutamide, or apalutamide provides a significant OS benefit when compared with ADT alone. We did not identify significant differences in OS between different combination therapies. Subtle differences between these options provide clinicians considerable flexibility when selecting options for individual patients.

Patient summary: Many men with metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer should be managed with upfront combination therapy instead of androgen-deprivation therapy alone. Clinicians may consider many factors during the decision-making process, and thus management should be tailored for patients individually.

Keywords: Androgen receptor-targeted therapies; Chemotherapy; Hormone sensitive; Meta-analysis; Metastasis; Prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones