Background: Whether topotecan plus platinum-based chemotherapy (TP) can achieve better results than etoposide plus platinum-based chemotherapy (EP) for small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) treatment is still controversial in clinical applications. We compared the effectiveness and toxicity of TP versus EP in this meta-analysis. Methods: We searched PubMed, ScienceDirect, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases for completeness one by one to find articles that met the conditions. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were analyzed as primary endpoints, and the objective response rate (ORR), disease control rate (DCR), and adverse events (AEs) were analyzed as secondary endpoints. Results: In total, 2,480 articles were retrieved, and 6 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) contained results based on 1,924 patients. EP suggested conspicuously better OS (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.24 [1.02, 1.50], p = 0.03) and PFS (HR: 1.39 [1.17, 1.64], p = 0.0001) in SCLC treatment than TP, and ORR (54.1% vs. 60.2%, risk ratio [RR]: 0.77 [0.57, 1.06], p = 0.11), and DCR (74.9% vs. 84.4%, RR: 0.89 [0.79, 1.00], p = 0.06) tended to favor EP. Subgroup analysis of subsistence showed that EP had prominent benefit in the following subgroups: Asian, median age > 60, first-line treatment, ECOG 0–2, intravenous topotecan, and cisplatin. AEs illustrated that EP had conspicuously more anemia and alopecia than TP. Conclusions: Compared with TP, EP was noticeably better in OS and PFS, but EP was toxic in terms of anemia and alopecia. More multicenter, better planned RCTs are needed.

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