European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 70, Issue 4, pp 461–467

Treatment-related mortality with aflibercept in cancer patients: a meta-analysis

Pharmacoepidemiology and Prescription

DOI: 10.1007/s00228-013-1633-2

Cite this article as:
Qi, WX., Tang, LN., Shen, Z. et al. Eur J Clin Pharmacol (2014) 70: 461. doi:10.1007/s00228-013-1633-2



Aflibercept, a fully humanized vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-targeted agent, has emerged as an effective therapy in the treatment of various solid tumors. We carried out an up-to-date meta-analysis to determine the risk of fatal adverse events (FAEs) in cancer patients treated with aflibercept.


We searched databases such as PubMed and Web of Science, and abstracts presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) meetings for records up to August 2013 to identify relevant studies. Eligible studies included prospective phase II and III trials evaluating aflibercept in cancer patients with adequate data on FAEs. Statistical analyses were conducted to calculate the summary incidence, odds ratio (OR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) by using either random effects or fixed-effect models according to the heterogeneity of included studies.


A total of 3,060 patients with a variety of solid tumors from ten clinical trials were included in our analysis. The overall incidence of FAEs associated with aflibercept was 5.1 % (95%CI: 3.8-6.8 %). The use of aflibercept significantly increased the risk of FAEs compared to patients treated with control medication (OR 1.81, 95 % CI: 1.20–2.72, p = 0.004). Additionally, the most common causes of FAEs were infection (38.8 %), hemorrhage (5.9 %) and GI perforation (5.9 %), respectively.


With available evidence, the use of aflibercept is associated with an increased risk of FAEs compared to controls. Further studies are still needed to investigate this association. In the appropriate clinical scenario, the use of aflibercept remains justified in its approved indications.


CancerFatal adverse eventsAfliberceptMeta-analysis

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OncologyShanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s HospitalShanghaiChina