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To evaluate the prognostic effect and clinical significance of epidermal growth factor receptor and its phosphorlated form (EGFR/p-EGFR) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. A systematic review and meta-analysis was designed. We visited PubMed, Embase, China National Knowledge Infrastructure Database, Database of Chinese sci-tech periodicals, WanFang Database, and China Biology Medicine disc to search for Chinese and English publications of prospective studies and retrospective studies investigating the association of EGFR/p-EGFR and nasopharyngeal carcinoma prognosis from inception to April 2021. The inclusion criteria were that the samples should be pathologically confirmed as nasopharyngeal carcinoma and the expression of EGFR/p-EGFR should be detected via immunohistochemistry; the study should analyze the prognostic significance of EGFR/p-EGFR in nasopharyngeal carcinoma; hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) should be reported in the study or could be derived from survival curves; and the outcomes of the study should include overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), progression-free survival (PFS), and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS). A total of 18 studies evaluating 1451 samples were included. For studies that reported OS as an outcome, EGFR overexpression indicated worse OS of nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients. The heterogeneity between studies was high (I2 = 91%, P < .01), and a random-effect model was used to combine the effect size (HR = 1.71, 95% CI [1.21, 2.41], P < .01). Further sensitivity analysis and prespecified subgroup analysis were performed to detect the source of heterogeneity, and the results showed that the heterogeneity could not be eliminated. Publication bias assessed by funnel plots and Begg test and Egger test was low (Begg test: P = .846 and Egger test: P = .074). p-EGFR was not correlated with the OS of nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients (HR = 1.01, 95% CI [0.88, 1.15], P = .92). For studies that reported DFS, EGFR overexpression was associated with worse DFS in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (HR = 2.53, 95% CI [1.84, 3.47], P < .01). For studies that reported PFS, EGFR overexpression was not correlated with the PFS of nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients (HR = 1.86, 95% CI [0.90, 3.82], P = .09). For studies that reported DMFS, EGFR overexpression was not correlated with the DMFS of nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients, and high heterogeneity between studies was detected (I2 = 97%, P < .01). A random-effect model was used to combine the effect size (HR = 1.80, 95% CI [0.56, 5.76], P = .32). A sensitivity analysis was conducted. Publication bias was detected to be low (Begg test: P = .817 and Egger test: P = .954). There was no correlation between p-EGFR overexpression and DMFS in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (HR = 1.20, 95% CI [0.95, 1.52], P = .12). In nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients, EGFR overexpression could be used as a biomarker that predicts poor OS and DFS, but not a prognostic biomarker for PFS and DMFS. The overexpression of p-EGFR was not shown to be associated with the prognosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients and could not be used as a prognostic biomarker. This study was registered on the International Platform of Registered Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Protocols (INPLASY), and reported as stated by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses. Neither ethical approval nor informed consent was required since this study was conducted based on previous publications. INPLASY 202150010. Copyright © 2022 the Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


Xiaohua Hong, Guangyao Wang, Guanglan Xu, Wei Shi, Tongbiao Wang, Zhen Rong, Chunmei Mo. Prognostic value of EGFR and p-EGFR in nasopharyngeal carcinoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine. 2022 Jan 21;101(3):e28507

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PMID: 35060503

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