Article Abstract

EGFR-TKI plus brain radiotherapy versus EGFR-TKI alone in the management of EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients with brain metastases

Authors: Kai Dong, Wenhua Liang, Shen Zhao, Minzhang Guo, Qihua He, Caichen Li, Haiqing Song, Jianxing He, Xiaojun Xia


Background: It has been confirmed that epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) presented better efficacy than brain radiotherapy (brain RT) in the treatment of brain metastasis (BM) in EGFR mutated NSCLC patients. However, whether the combination of EGFR-TKIs and brain RT is better than EGFR-TKIs alone remains unclear. We aim to compare the outcomes of adding brain RT to EGFR-TKIs and to screen for the beneficial population by a meta-analysis of currently available data.
Methods: A systematic search for relevant articles was conducted in six databases. The outcomes were overall survival (OS) and intracranial progression-free survival (iPFS) between groups, both were measured as hazard ratios (HRs). Meta-regression and dominant subgroup analysis were used to explore advantageous subgroups.
Results: A total of 12 retrospective studies involving 1,553 EGFR mutated patients with BM at the first diagnosis were included. EGFR-TKIs plus brain RT showed a significant prolonged OS (HR =0.64, 95% CI: 0.52–0.78; P<0.001) and iPFS (HR =0.62, 95% CI: 0.50–0.78; P<0.001) compared to EGFR-TKIs alone. Meta-regression analyses showed that potential factors contributed to the heterogeneity were the proportion of ECOG performance score (2+ vs. 0-1, P=0.070) and brain symptomatic patients (no vs. yes, P=0.077) regarding iPFS and was age (younger vs. older, P=0.075) for OS. Dominant subgroup analyses suggested that symptomatic patients (HR 0.46 vs. 0.74, interaction P=0.01) for iPFS, and older patients (HR 0.55 vs. 0.75, interaction P=0.03) and 19Del mutation (HR 0.55 vs. 0.74, interaction P=0.04) for OS, seemed to benefit more from the combination therapy than their counterparts. However, direct subgroup results based on only two studies did not show significant difference in iPFS benefit between age, mutation type and sex subgroup.
Conclusions: EGFR-TKIs plus brain RT is superior to EGFR-TKIs alone in the management of EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients with BM, of which the benefits might be influenced by age, BM-related symptoms and mutation type.