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Lung Cancer. 2012 Feb;75(2):217-22. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2011.06.012. Epub 2011 Jul 30.

Overexpression of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and angioinvasion are poor prognostic factors in early stage NSCLC: a verification study.

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Thoracic Oncology Research Group, Institute of Molecular Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, St. James's Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland.



A recent study by Dhillon et al. [12], identified both angioinvasion and mTOR as prognostic biomarkers for poor survival in early stage NSCLC. The aim of this study was to verify the above study by examining the angioinvasion and mTOR expression profile in a cohort of early stage NSCLC patients and correlate the results to patient clinico-pathological data and survival.


Angioinvasion was routinely recorded by the pathologist at the initial assessment of the tumor following resection. mTOR was evaluated in 141 early stage (IA-IIB) NSCLC patients (67 - squamous; 60 - adenocarcinoma; 14 - others) using immunohistochemistry (IHC) analysis with an immunohistochemical score (IHS) calculated (% positive cells×staining intensity). Intensity was scored as follows: 0 (negative); 1+ (weak); 2+ (moderate); 3+ (strong). The range of scores was 0-300. Based on the previous study a cut-off score of 30 was used to define positive versus negative patients. The impact of angioinvasion and mTOR expression on prognosis was then evaluated.


101 of the 141 tumors studied expressed mTOR. There was no difference in mTOR expression between squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Angioinvasion (p=0.024) and mTOR staining (p=0.048) were significant univariate predictors of poor survival. Both remained significant after multivariate analysis (p=0.037 and p=0.020, respectively).


Our findings verify angioinvasion and mTOR expression as new biomarkers for poor outcome in patients with early stage NSCLC. mTOR expressing patients may benefit from novel therapies targeting the mTOR survival pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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