Effect of Sunitinib in the Management of Lung Cancer: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials

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Rebaz M. Ali
Sami S. Omar
Fahmi H. kakamad
Harem K. Ahmed
Diyar A. Omar
Yousif M. Mahmood
Mohammed Q. Mustafa
Aland S. Abdullah
Marwan N. Hassan
Dahat A. Hussein
Suhaib H. Kakamad
Hiwa O. Abdullah
Hawbash M. Rahim
Berun A. Abdalla
Shvan H. Mohammed


Small-cell lung cancer, Sunitinib, Erlotinib, Targeted therapy



Lung cancer is the most common cancer in terms of both incidence and mortality. Although usually managed with surgery, novel immunotherapies are gradually becoming more popular. The effect of sunitinib with and without erlotinib in the management of lung cancer is reviewed.


Eligible search engines and databases were screened to identify studies published in English. Any randomized clinical trials studying the effect of sunitinib, either alone or in combination with erlotinib, were included.


Thirteen studies with a total sample size of 1,062 cases were included. Males (59.5%) were more common than females (40.5%), and the average age of patients was 64 ± 5.03. Most of the patients (71.5%) had a positive smoking status, and non-small cell carcinoma was the most common lung cancer type (95.4%). Almost all of the adverse events, such as headache (100%), weight loss (100%), constipation (100%), leukocytopenia (96%), pain (92.3%), hypertension (90%), dyspnea (88.7%), cough (84.3%), fatigue (81.6%), fever/chills (77.3%), thrombocytopenia (75%), nausea (73.8%), neutropenia (72%), anorexia (71.4%), vomiting (65.1%), anemia (61.3%), and diarrhea (54.5%) were more common in the sunitinib-only group. The mean overall survival for patients receiving sunitinib alone was 213 days, whereas, for patients receiving sunitinib combined with erlotinib, it was 270 days.


Adverse events may be encountered more frequently in treatment with sunitinib alone compared to the combination of sunitinib and erlotinib. However, sunitinib alone may result in higher disease stability and lower disease progression. Nevertheless, combination therapy may yield a longer median overall survival.

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