Meta-analysis of STAT3 and phospho-STAT3 expression and survival of patients with breast cancer

Ya Liu _, Jie Huang, Wen Li, Yujuan Chen, Xuejuan Liu and Jing Wang

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:13060-13067. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23962

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Ya Liu1,*, Jie Huang2,*, Wen Li1, Yujuan Chen1, Xuejuan Liu1 and Jing Wang1

1Department of Breast Surgery, Western China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China

2Department of Rheumatology, Shenzhen Hospital of Peking University, Guangzhou Medical University, Shenzhen, 518000, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Jing Wang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: STAT3; p-STAT3; breast cancer; prognostic; meta-analysis

Received: July 31, 2017     Accepted: November 16, 2017     Published: January 04, 2018


Objective: The prognostic value of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and phospho-STAT3 in breast cancer remains controversial in heterogeneous. The objective of this meta-analysis was to evaluate STAT3 and phospho-STAT3 expression on the prognosis of breast cancer patients.

Materials and Methods: PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Embase, Web of Science, Chinese CNKI, and Wan Fang were searched up to 19th June 2017. Studies which investigated the STAT3 or phospho-STAT3 expression of patients with breast cancer on the basis of patient survival data or survival curve were eligible.

Results: This meta-analysis involves 12 studies and 4513 female patients with breast cancer. No clear relationship exists between overall survival (OS) and high expression of STAT3 and p-STAT3 (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.95, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.62–1.46, p > 0.05). p-STAT3 expression is unrelated to disease-free survival (HR = 0.69, 95% CI: 0.18–2.55, p = 0.573). Notably, the pooled effect predicts better breast cancer-specific survival with p-STAT3 overexpression (HR = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.59–0.78, I2 = 30.9%, p < 0.001). Results of subgroup analyses show that STAT3 overexpression indicates shorter OS (HR = 1.87, 95% CI: 1.42–2.45, p < 0.001) when excluding the heterogeneity test. Meanwhile, p-STAT3-positive patients have a significantly higher OS than their counterparts (HR = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.57–0.91, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Positive STAT3 expression may indicate poor OS. However, p-STAT3, as a potential molecular biomarker for predicting chemotherapeutic effect, appears to have better prognostic value than STAT3.

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