mTOR pathway protein immunoexpression as a prognostic factor for survival in head and neck cancer patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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BACKGROUND:Several mTOR pathway proteins are involved in the regulation of cellular anabolism, growth, proliferation, and survival. Activated proteins in the mTOR pathway are deregulated in multiple types of cancers and could influence prognosis. However, it is unclear whether deregulation of mTOR pathway proteins serves a prognostic role in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC). Furthermore, proteins in the mTOR pathway may be important targets for anticancer therapy. The aim of this study was to summarize existing cohort studies to determine whether immunoexpression of mTOR pathway proteins are important prognostic factors for survival in patients with HNC.MATERIALS AND METHODS:A systematic review was performed using the Cochrane, Lilacs, PubMed, ScienceDirect, Scopus, and Web of Science databases (up to 23 January 2015). A meta-analysis was conducted to measure the frequency of protein expression in head and neck cancer patient samples and the prognostic value of mTOR pathway proteins for overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS).RESULTS:Twelve studies were included in our final analysis. The meta-analysis revealed that the frequency of overall expression of mTOR pathway proteins was 74.42% (CI: 63.3 to 84.0,P< 0.001,n= 2016 samples). The survival meta-analysis showed a pooled hazard ratio for OS and DFS of 1.44 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.14–1.73) and 1.18 (95% CI 0.71–1.64), respectively.CONCLUSION:This systematic review and meta-analysis support evidence that mTOR pathway proteins can be used as predictive markers for survival in patients with HNC because their expression was significantly associated with poor OS and short DFS.

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