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BMC Cancer  2008 

Meta-analysis confirms BCL2 is an independent prognostic marker in breast cancer

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-8-153

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Abstract:

Reports published in 1994–2006 were selected for the meta-analysis using a search of PubMed. Studies that investigated the role of BCL2 expression by immunohistochemistry with a sample size greater than 100 were included. Seventeen papers reported the results of 18 different series including 5,892 cases with an average median follow-up of 92.1 months.Eight studies investigated DFS unadjusted for other variables in 2,285 cases. The relative hazard estimates ranged from 0.85 – 3.03 with a combined random effects estimate of 1.66 (95%CI 1.25 – 2.22). The effect of BCL2 on DFS adjusted for other prognostic factors was reported in 11 studies and the pooled random effects hazard ratio estimate was 1.58 (95%CI 1.29–1.94). OS was investigated unadjusted for other variables in eight studies incorporating 3,910 cases. The hazard estimates ranged from 0.99–4.31 with a pooled estimate of risk of 1.64 (95%CI 1.36–2.0). OS adjusted for other parameters was evaluated in nine series comprising 3,624 cases and the estimates for these studies ranged from 1.10 to 2.49 with a pooled estimate of 1.37 (95%CI 1.19–1.58).The meta-analysis strongly supports the prognostic role of BCL2 as assessed by immunohistochemistry in breast cancer and shows that this effect is independent of lymph node status, tumour size and tumour grade as well as a range of other biological variables on multi-variate analysis. Large prospective studies are now needed to establish the clinical utility of BCL2 as an independent prognostic marker.Breast cancer is a heterogenous disease whose behaviour is determined by the molecular characteristics of the tumour. In clinical practice, we rely on clinico-pathological features to predict tumour behaviour and patient outcome. These are powerful independent prognosticators [1,2] but are imperfect and represent only crude measures of the biological behaviour of a tumour. The power of these factors can be increased when they are used in combination e.g. the Nottingham Progno

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