Prognostic roles of tumor associated macrophages in bladder cancer: a system review and meta-analysis

Shui-Qing Wu _, Ran Xu, Xue-Feng Li, Xiao-Kun Zhao and Bin-Zhi Qian

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:25294-25303. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25334

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Shui-Qing Wu1,2, Ran Xu1, Xue-Feng Li2, Xiao-Kun Zhao1 and Bin-Zhi Qian2,3

1Department of Urology, The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, 410011, Hunan Province, People’s Republic of China

2MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, EH16 4TJ, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

3Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre Queen’s Medical Research Institute, EH16 4TJ, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Correspondence to:

Bin-Zhi Qian, email: [email protected]

Keywords: tumor associated macrophages; bladder cancer; system review; meta-analysis

Received: August 15, 2017     Accepted: April 06, 2018     Published: May 18, 2018


Background: Tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) have multifaceted roles in the development of many tumor types. However, the prognostic value of TAMs in bladder cancer is still not conclusive.

Experimental design: This review evaluated the prognostic value of TAMs density in bladder cancer by reviewing published literatures and integrating the results via a meta-analysis. A systematic search was conducted in PubMed, Embase and Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), WanFang, and Web of Science databases for relevant studies. Overall survival (OS), relapse free survival (RFS), disease specific survival (DSS), and progression free survival (PFS) were assessed in bladder cancer patients.

Results: The pooled hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) indicated that TAMs identified with CD68 alone have no significant correlation with OS (HR = 1.01, 95% CI = 1.00–1.02), RFS (HR = 0.99, 95% CI = 0.91–1.06), or PFS (HR = 1.19, 95% CI = 0.70–1.68) in bladder cancer patients. Subgroup analyses involved with Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) treatment or sample locations either showed that CD68+ TAMs presented no prognostic value with regard to OS in bladder cancer patients. However, TAMs detected by CD163 are significantly correlated with poor RFS in bladder cancer patients (HR = 1.54, 95% CI = 1.16–1.92).

Conclusions: Our data indicated that TAMs identified only with CD68 have no significant correlation with the prognosis and clinicopathological parameters of bladder cancer patients. However, TAMs detected with CD163 could serve as a prognostic marker for bladder cancer patients. These findings invite further research on the role of TAM subsets in bladder cancer patients.

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