Reassessment of the Efficacy of Carboplatin for Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma in the Era of Immunotherapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

European Association of Urology–Young Academic Urologists Urothelial Carcinoma Working Group (EAU-YAU)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Platinum-based combination chemotherapy is the standard treatment for advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (AMUC). However, data comparing the efficacy of different platinum agents are limited. Objective: This review aimed to assess the efficacy of carboplatin as a first-line treatment for AMUC using phase 3 randomized trial data. Evidence acquisition: Multiple databases were searched for articles published until August 2021. Studies that compared overall survival (OS), complete response (CR), and objective response rates (ORRs) in chemotherapy-eligible patients with AMUC were deemed eligible. Evidence synthesis: Four studies were included. Compared with immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) monotherapy, neither cisplatin- nor carboplatin-based chemotherapy was associated with significant OS (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.97, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.85–1.11, p = 0.64 and HR: 0.90, 95% CI: 0.78–1.04, p = 0.16, respectively) and CR (odds ratio [OR]: 1.16, 95% CI: 0.70–1.92, p = 0.57 and OR: 0.89, 95% CI: 0.52–1.53, p = 0.67, respectively benefits, while both were associated with a favorable ORR (OR: 0.54, 95% CI: 0.40–0.74, p < 0.001 and OR: 0.58, 95% CI: 0.42–0.80, p < 0.001, respectively). A network meta-analysis (NMA)-based indirect comparison between carboplatin and cisplatin revealed that while cisplatin was slightly better than carboplatin in terms of OS, CR, and ORR, no significant difference was noted. Conclusions: Cisplatin- and carboplatin-based chemotherapies offer similar OS/CR benefits to ICI monotherapy and elicit a greater ORR than ICI monotherapy. Moreover, our NMA demonstrated that both cisplatin- and carboplatin-based chemotherapy have a similar efficacy in terms of OS, CR, and ORR. Given that carboplatin-based chemotherapy is shown to be more effective in contemporary series than in historical controls, it is strongly recommended that carboplatin be re-examined for its value in the era of ICIs and beyond. Patient summary: Cisplatin- as well as carboplatin-based chemotherapy is as effective as immune checkpoint inhibitors in terms of survival and eliciting a positive response. It is currently believed that cisplatin provides greater benefits than carboplatin; this requires re-evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Urology Focus
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Carboplatin
  • Cisplatin
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Platinum-based chemotherapy
  • Urothelial carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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