Is there truly an increase in risk of cardiovascular and hematological adverse events with vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors?
Objectives: Recent studies have shown an increase risk of cardiovascular and hematological adverse events associated with vascular endothelial growth factor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (VEGF-TKIs). The authors hypothesize that the original studies may have produced exaggerated results because of the small baseline risks involved.
Methods: A meta-analysis that included 71 trials, 8 different VEGFR-TKIs, and 11 adverse events were re-analyzed. The outcome of interest was re-defined as the complementary outcome (i.e. remaining free of an adverse event). The inverse variance heterogeneity model was used to pool the effect size.
Results: VEGFR-TKIs decreased the risk of remaining free of hypertension by 7% (RR 0.93; 95%CI:0.88–0.97). Specific VEGFR-TKIs; pazopanib, regorafenib, and nintedanib were associated with a decrease risk of remaining free of an arterial thrombotic event (RR 0.96; 95%CI:0.93–0.99), thrombocytopenia (RR 0.91; 95%CI:0.89–0.93), and bleeding (RR 0.96; 95%CI:0.93–0.99) respectively. VEGFR-TKIs were not associated with the thrombotic event, myocardial infarction, stroke, venous thrombotic event, pulmonary embolism, left ventricular dysfunction, or QTc interval prolongation.
Conclusion: VEGFR-TKIs are associated with a small increase in the risk of patients developing hypertension, arterial thrombotic events, thrombocytopenia, and bleeding. Previous studies overestimated the actual risk associated with VEGFR-TKIs by analyzing the outcome with the lower baseline risk.