Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been found to play an important role in the development and outcomes for multiple human cancers. Their role as a prognostic biomarker in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains unclear. This meta-analysis aims to clarify the role of various miRNAs in the survival of NSCLC patients.
Materials and Methods: All studies were identified through medical database search engines. A meta-analysis was conducted to assess the correlation between miRNAs expressions and overall survival among those NSCLC studies. Relevant data were extracted from each eligible study regarding baseline characteristics and key statistics such as hazard ratio (HR), 95% confidence interval (CI), and P value, which were utilized to calculate a pooled effect size.
Result: Thirty-two studies were included in the meta-analysis. Using a random effect model, the combined HR and 95% CI for overall survival (OS) was calculated as 1.59 (1.39-1.82), predicting a poor overall survival. Five miRNAs (miR-21, miR-155, miR-let-7, miR-148a, and miR-148b) were found to be of significance for predicting OS in at least two studies, hence, selected for subgroup analysis. Subgroup analysis disclosed that elevated levels of miR-21 and miR-155 in both cancer tissue and blood samples were associated with worse OS. Compared to American studies (I-squared: <0.001% and P value: 0.94), Asian and European studies exhibited greater heterogeneity in miRNA expression and relationship to OS (I-squared, P values were approximately 78.85%, <0.001 and 61.28%, 0.006, respectively). These subgroup analyses also highlighted that elevated expression of miR-21 and miR-155 and low levels of expression of miR-148a, miR-148b, and miR-let-7 were associated with poor prognosis in NSCLC.
Conclusion: miR-21, miR-155, miR-148a, miR-148b, and miR-let-7 are consistently up- or downregulated in NSCLC and are associated with poor OS. These miRNAs show potential as useful prognostic biomarkers in the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of NSCLC.