Both pembrolizumab and lenvatinib demonstrate antitumor activity and safety in cancers. However, whether their combination is safer and more effective than monotherapies remains unknown. A systematic review was performed to assess the safety and efficacy of pembrolizumab plus lenvatinib versus their respective monotherapies in solid cancers.
PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library were searched. Forty-two clinical trials with 8155 patients were included.
The total ≥grade 3 adverse events (AEs) and objective response rates (ORRs) among pembrolizumab plus lenvatinib and pembrolizumab or lenvatinib monotherapies in solid cancers were 68.0% vs 17.7% vs 68.5% and 40.6% vs 20.8% vs 43.3%, respectively. The most common AEs of pembrolizumab plus lenvatinib were hypertension (20-61.1%), fatigue (12-59.1%), diarrhea (9-51.9%), hypothyroidism (25-47%), and proteinuria (8-17%). Good ORRs for combination therapy were observed in renal cell carcinoma (70%), gastric cancer (69%), melanoma (48%), head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (46%), and endometrial cancer (38-53%), while these rates were reported as 27%, 11.6-22%, 26-37%, 14.6-23%, and 11-14.3% for monotherapies, respectively. Longer median progression-free survival (mPFS) and median overall survival (mOS) were observed for hepatocellular carcinoma (mPFS 9.3 months, mOS 22.0 months), renal cell carcinoma (mPFS 19.8 months), gastric cancer (mPFS 7.1 months, mOS not reached), and endometrial cancer (mPFS 7.4 months, mOS 16.7 months).
Compared with their monotherapies, pembrolizumab plus lenvatinib showed more promising antitumor activity and resulted in higher ORRs and significant survival benefits in the above cancers. Toxicities were manageable, with no unexpected safety issues.

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