Aims The aims of this work were to build a semi-mechanistic tumour growth inhibition (TGI) model for metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients receiving either cetuximab + chemotherapy or chemotherapy alone and to identify early predictors of overall survival (OS). Methods A total of 1716 patients from 4 mCRC clinical studies were included in the analysis. The TGI model was built with 8973 tumour size measurements where the probability of drop-out was also included and modelled as a time-to-event variable using parametric survival models, as it was the case in the OS analysis. The effects of patient- and tumour-related covariates on model parameters were explored. Results Chemotherapy and cetuximab effects were included in an additive form in the TGI model. Development of resistance was found to be faster for chemotherapy (drug effect halved at wk 8) compared to cetuximab (drug effect halved at wk 12). KRAS wild-type status and presenting a right-sided primary lesion were related to a 3.5-fold increase in cetuximab drug effect and a 4.7x larger cetuximab resistance, respectively. The early appearance of a new lesion (HR = 4.14), a large tumour size at baseline (HR = 1.62) and tumour heterogeneity (HR = 1.36) were the main predictors of OS. Conclusions Semi-mechanistic TGI and OS models have been developed in a large population of mCRC patients receiving chemotherapy in combination or not with cetuximab. Tumour-related predictors, including a machine learning derived-index of tumour heterogeneity, were linked to changes in drug effect, resistance to treatment or OS, contributing to the understanding of the variability in clinical response.