Sunitinib for Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Real-World and Clinical Trials Data.
BACKGROUND: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have stringent inclusion criteria and may not fully represent patients seen in everyday clinical practice. Real-world data (RWD) can provide supportive evidence for the effectiveness of medical interventions in more heterogeneous populations than RCTs. Sunitinib is a widely used first-line treatment for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). OBJECTIVE: This is the first comprehensive meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of sunitinib using the novel approach of combining RCTs and RWD. METHODS: RCTs and RWD studies published between 2000 and 2017 were identified from PubMed, Ovid, MEDLINE, and EMBASE. Eligible studies contained a cohort of ≥ 50 adult patients with mRCC receiving first-line sunitinib treatment. The meta-analysis combined RWD and RCT treatment groups, adjusting for data type (RCT or RWD). Recorded outcomes were median progression-free survival (mPFS), median overall survival (mOS), and objective response rate (ORR). Publication bias was assessed via review of funnel plots for each outcome measure. A random effects model to account for study heterogeneity was applied to each endpoint. Sensitivity analyses evaluated the robustness of the overall estimates. RESULTS: Of the 3611 studies identified through medical database searches, 22 (15 RWD studies, 7 RCTs) met eligibility criteria and were analyzed. mPFS (18 studies), mOS (19 studies), and ORR (15 studies) were reported for aggregate measures based on 4815, 5321, and 4183 patients, respectively. Reported mPFS (RWD, 7.5-11.0 months; RCTs, 5.6-15.1 months) and ORR data (RWD, 14.0-34.6%; RCTs, 18.8-46.9%) were consistent with the overall confidence estimates (95% confidence interval [CI]) of 9.3 (8.6-10.2) months and 27.9% (24.2-32.0), respectively. Reported mOS showed greater variation in RWD (6.8-33.2 months) compared with RCTs (21.8-31.5 months), with an overall confidence estimate (95% CI) of 23.0 (19.2-27.6) months. Inspection of funnel plots and sensitivity analyses indicated that there was no publication bias for any efficacy endpoint. Sensitivity analyses showed no evidence of lack of robustness for mPFS, mOS, or ORR. Interpretation of these results is limited by differences in trial design, cohort characteristics, and missing data. CONCLUSIONS: This novel, comprehensive meta-analysis validates sunitinib as an effective first-line treatment for patients with mRCC in both RCTs and everyday clinical practice. The methodology provides a framework for future analyses combining data from RCTs and RWD.