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Br J Cancer. 2001 Jul 6;85(1):14-22.

Aneuploidy and prognosis of non-small-cell lung cancer: a meta-analysis of published data.

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Thoracic Oncology Unit, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Hôpital Arnaud de Villeneuve, Montpellier Cedex, 34295, France.


In lung cancer, DNA content abnormalities have been described as a heterogeneous spectrum of impaired tumour cell DNA histogram patterns. They are merged into the common term of aneuploidy and probably reflect a high genotypic instability. In non-small-cell lung cancer, the negative effect of aneuploidy has been a subject of controversy inasmuch as studies aimed at determining the survival-DNA content relationship have reported conflicting results. We made a meta-analysis of published studies aimed at determining the prognostic effect of aneuploidy in surgically resected non-small-cell lung cancer. 35 trials have been identified in the literature. A comprehensive collection of data has been constructed taking into account the following parameters: quality of specimen, DNA content assessment method, aneuploidy definition, histology and stage grouping, quality of surgical resection and demographic characteristics of the analysed population. Among the 4033 assessable patients, 2626 suffered from non-small-cell lung cancer with aneuploid DNA content (overall frequency of aneuploidy: 0.65; 95% CI: (0.64-0.67)). The DerSimonian and Laird method was used to estimate the size effects and the Peto and Yusuf method was used in order to generate the odds ratios (OR) of reduction in risk of death for patients affected by a nearly diploid (non-aneuploid) non-small-cell lung cancer. Survivals following surgical resection, from 1 to 5 years, were chosen as the end-points of our meta-analysis. Patients suffering from a nearly diploid tumour benefited from a significant reduction in risk of death at 1, 2, 3 and 4 years with respective OR: 0.51, 0.51, 0.45 and 0.67 (P< 10(-4)for each end-point). 5 years after resection, the reduction of death was of lesser magnitude: OR: 0.87 (P = 0.08). The test for overall statistical heterogeneity was conventionally significant (P< 0.01) for all 5 end-points, however. None of the recorded characteristics of the studies could explain this phenomenon precluding a subset analysis. Therefore, the DerSimonian and Laird method was applied inasmuch as this method allows a correction for heterogeneity. This method demonstrated an increase in survival at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years for patients with diploid tumours with respective size effects of 0.11, 0.15, 0.20, 0.20 and 0.21 (value taking into account the correction for heterogeneity;P< 10(-4)for each end-point). Patients who benefit from a surgical resection for non-small-cell lung cancer with aneuploid DNA content prove to have a higher risk of death. This negative prognostic factor decreases the probability of survival by 11% at one year, a negative effect deteriorating up to 21% at 5 years following surgery.

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