Background We previously described a systematic assessment of the neoadjuvant therapies for human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) positive breast cancer, using network meta-analysis. Accumulation of new clinical data has compelled us to update the analysis. Methods Randomized trials comparing different anti-HER2 regimens in the neoadjuvant setting were included, and odds ratio for pathologic complete response (pCR) in seven treatment arms were assessed by pooling effect sizes. Direct and indirect comparisons using a Bayesian statistical model were performed. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results A database search identified 993 articles with 13 studies meeting the eligibility criteria, including three new studies with lapatinib (lpnb). In an indirect comparison, dual anti-HER2 agents with CT achieved a better pCR rate than other arms. The credibility intervals of CT + tzmb + lpnb arm were largely reduced compared to our former report, which we added sufficient clinical evidence by this update. Values of surface under the cumulative ranking (SUCRA) suggested that CT + tzmb + pzmb had the highest probability of being the best treatment arm for pCR, widening the difference between the top two dual-HER2 blockade arms compared to our former report. The overall consistency with our first report enhanced the credibility of the results. Conclusion Network meta-analysis using new clinical data firmly establish that combining two anti-HER2 agents with CT is most effective against HER2-positive breast cancer in the neoadjuvant setting. New pzmb related trials are required to fully determine the best neoadjuvant dual-HER2 blockade regimen.
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