Prognostic and clinicopathological significance of MUC expression in head and neck cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Hao Lu, Dan Liang, Yun Zhu, Wanlin Xu, Kaihua Zhou, Limin Liu, Shengwen Liu and Wenjun Yang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:96359-96372. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19648

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Hao Lu1,2,*, Dan Liang3,*, Yun Zhu1,2, Wanlin Xu1,2, Kaihua Zhou1,2, Limin Liu1,2, Shengwen Liu1,2 and Wenjun Yang1,2

1 Department of Oral Maxillofacial-Head and Neck Oncology, Ninth People’s Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

2 Shanghai Research Institute of Stomatology and Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology, Shanghai, China

3 State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Wenjun Yang, email:

Shengwen Liu, email:

Keywords: MUC, head and neck cancer, biomarkers, prognosis, meta-analysis

Received: December 23, 2016 Accepted: February 28, 2017 Published: July 27, 2017


The prognostic value of mucins expression in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) remains controversial. To address this, a meta-analysis was performed to systematically evaluate prognostic significance of mucins expression in HNC. Electronic and manual searches were performed and a total of 20 studies including 2046 patients were selected for the final analysis. Increased mucins expression was associated with unfavorable overall survival in HNC patients (HR=1.83, 95% CI: 1.43-2.33, p=0.000). Mucins overexpression was also in correlation with more advanced TNM stage (RR=0.84, 95% CI: 0.73-0.97, p=0.017), higher risk of lymph node metastasis (RR=0.69, 95% CI: 0.57-0.84, p=0.000) and deeper invasion (RR=0.58, 95% CI: 0.44-0.76, p=0.000). These results suggested that elevated mucins expression was significantly associated with worse prognosis and more detrimental clinicopathological outcomes, revealing the promising potential of mucins as biomarkers for HNC management.

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