Prognostic and predictive significance of thymidylate synthase protein expression in non-small cell lung cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Qingyun Liu, Zubin Yu, Ying Xiang, Na Wu, Long Wu, Bin Xu, Liang Wang, Ping Yang, Yafei Li, Li Bai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

14 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: It remains controversial whether thymidylate synthase (TS) protein expression is associated with survival for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate prognostic and predictive significance of tumor TS protein level in NSCLC.

METHODS: Electronic searches were performed for relevant studies in PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Chinese Biomedical Literature Database. Hazard ratios (HRs) for overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were pooled for meta-analysis. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were performed. Publication bias was evaluated by funnel plot and Begg's test.

RESULTS: Twenty-four studies, including 2280 patients, were eligible. This analysis showed that patients with low TS expression had statistically significantly longer OS and PFS than those with high TS (HR=0.51 and HR=0.49, respectively). Based on TS-targeted drug use status, TS expression was significantly associated with OS in pemetrexed (HR=0.42) and 5-Fluorouracil subgroups (HR=0.34), but not in no TS-targeted drug subgroup. There were similar results for PFS analyses. Sensitivity analysis indicated that the results were robust. Begg's test did not reveal any publication bias.

CONCLUSION: Low TS protein expression is a favorable predictive factor for better OS/PFS in NSCLC patients treated with TS-targeted drugs. Prognostic value of TS protein expression needs further validation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-78
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Biomarkers
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • predictive factor
  • prognosis
  • thymidylate synthase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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