We conducted a systematic review for evidence of the clinical efficacy of cancer immunotherapies. We searched PubMed from inception to 14 February 2018 for meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of cancer immunotherapies. Re-analyses were performed to estimate the summary effect size under random-effects, the 95% confidence interval (CI), heterogeneity, and the 95% prediction interval, and we determined the strength of the evidence. We examined publication bias and excess significance bias. 63 articles corresponding to 247 meta-analyses were eligible. Nine meta-analyses were classified to have convincing evidence, and 75 were classified as suggestive evidence. The clinical benefit of immunotherapy was supported by convincing evidence in the following settings: anti-PD-1/PD-L1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy for treating advanced melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the combination of rituximab and chemotherapy for treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia and B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, adoptive cell immunotherapy for NSCLC, and the combination of interferon α and chemotherapy for metastatic melanoma. A further meta-analysis of 16 RCTs showed that anti-PD-1/PD-L1 mAb therapy had a benefit in patients with solid tumors (overall survival; hazard ratio = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.68–0.79; p < 0.001), supported by convincing evidence. In the future, rigorous approaches are needed when interpreting meta-analyses to gain better insight into the true efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.
Kim, J. Y., Lee, K. H., Eisenhut, M., van der Vliet, H. J., Kronbichler, A., Jeong, G. H., ... Gamerith, G. (2019). Efficacy of cancer immunotherapy: An umbrella review of meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. Cancers, 11(11), . https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111801