The use of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (VEGFR-TKIs) significantly increases the risk for developing severe and fatal infections in patients with cancer, a recent study published in the journal OncoTargets and Therapy has shown.

VEGFR-TKIs, such as axitinib, pazopanib, regorafenib, sorafenib, and sunitinib, are widely used for the treatment of a variety of solid tumors, including colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, renal cell carcinoma, and thyroid cancer. However, concerns have arisen surrounding the association between these agents and the risk of severe infections. Therefore, researchers at The General Hospital of Tianjin Medical University in China sought to evaluate the contribution of VEGFR-TKIs to the risk of infections.

For the meta-analysis, researchers analyzed data from 27 randomized controlled trials that included a total of 16,488 patients. Results showed that the risk for severe and fatal infections was significantly higher in patients who received VEGFR-TKIs compared with controls. Subgroup analyses demonstrated no difference in risk between patients with different tumor types or agent used.

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The findings suggest that health care professionals should closely monitor patients treated with VEGFR-TKIs for any signs of infection, particularly those with non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer.