Overexpression of EMT-inducing transcription factors as a potential poor prognostic factor for hepatocellular carcinoma in Asian populations: A meta-analysis

Tao Wan, Tianwei Zhang, Xiaoying Si and Yanming Zhou _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:59500-59508. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18352

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Tao Wan1,*, Tianwei Zhang1,*, Xiaoying Si1 and Yanming Zhou1

1Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatovascular Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University, Xiamen, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Yanming Zhou, email: [email protected]

Keywords: EMT-TFs, hepatocellular carcinoma, biomarker, prognosis, meta-analysis

Received: March 15, 2017     Accepted: May 22, 2017     Published: June 02, 2017


Background and Objectives: The clinical relevance of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression has been highlighted during the last decade. The zinc finger E-box binding homeobox (ZEB) family, the zinc-finger transcriptional repressor (SNAI) family, and the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor (Twist) family, known as the prominent EMT-inducing transcription factors (EMT-TFs), played a crucial role in the process of EMT. Here, this meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the prognostic value of EMT-TFs high expression in patients with HCC after hepatectomy.

Results: A total of 10 studies involving 1334 patients were retrieved for analysis, the synthetic date indicated that EMT-TFs overexpression was associated with poor postoperative overall survival (OS) [HR = 1.71; 95% CI: 1.40–2.08; p < 0.00001] in HCC. The subgroup analyses revealed that overexpression of each individual EMT-TF (in addition to ZEB2) tended to be associated with poor OS. Moreover, EMT-TFs overexpression correlated with TNM stage, poor histological differentiation, intrahepatic metastasis and vascular invasion.

Materials and Methods: Relevant literature search in the PubMed, Web of Science database and Cochrane Library was performed to retrieve all eligible studies. The pooled hazard ratio (HR) or odds ratio (OR) with its 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated to investigation clinicopathological and prognostic significance of EMT-TFs expression in HCC.

Conclusions: EMT-TFs overexpression indicated an unfavorable prognosis in HCC patients following curative resection.

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