The effect of cytotoxic chemotherapy on the risk of high-grade acneiform rash to cetuximab in cancer patients: A meta-analysis

Y. Balagula, S. Wu, X. Su, M. E. Lacouture

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

20 Scopus citations


Background: The effect of chemotherapy on the risk of cetuximab-induced acneiform rash is unknown. We carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies to quantify the incidence and risk of high-grade acneiform rash with combination therapy. Methods: Relevant studies were identified from PubMed database, abstracts presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conferences, and Web of Science. Incidence of acneiform rash to cetuximab monotherapy was estimated based on updated data from our previously published meta-analysis. Incidence, relative risk (RR), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated based on the heterogeneity of included studies. Results: A total of 5333 patients from nine trials were included in the analysis. The incidence of high-grade acneiform rash was significantly increased in patients receiving combination treatment (12.8%, 95% CI 9.1% to 17.7%) as compared with cetuximab monotherapy (6.3%, 95% CI 3.7% to 10.5%), with a risk ratio of 2.03 (95% CI 1.52-2.71, P < 0.01). Cetuximab significantly increased the risk of high-grade rash in patients receiving combination therapy (RR = 37.7, 95% CI 17.8-80.0, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Addition of cytotoxic chemotherapy to cetuximab significantly increases the risk of high-grade acneiform rash compared with cetuximab monotherapy. This emphasizes the need for effective management strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2366-2374
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2011



  • Acneiform rash
  • Cetuximab
  • Cytotoxic chemotherapy
  • Papulopustular rash

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology

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