Background and aims: Radioiodine-refractory advanced or metastatic thyroid cancer has poor prognosis. We conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) for advanced or metastatic thyroid cancer treatment. Methods: Studies published up to April 2017 were selected. The pooled effect size was calculated through meta-analysis by using random effects models. Outcomes were overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (RR), and adverse events (AEs). Results: Six studies examining 1615 patients were included. TKI treatment significantly improved PFS in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC; hazard ratio [HR] = 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.23–0.82) and those with medullary thyroid cancer (MTC; HR = 0.36; 95% CI, 0.22–0.58). TKI treatment significantly prolonged OS in patients with DTC (HR = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.58–0.95). The TKI treatment group exhibited a significantly improved partial response rate (risk ratio = 15.8; 95% CI, 1.77–140.69) but a significantly higher number of AEs compared with the control group. Conclusion: TKIs significantly improved PFS and RR in patients with advanced or metastatic DTC or MTC. We recommend thoroughly evaluating patients’ health status and cautiously using TKIs to maximize their benefits and minimize their toxicity.
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