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NIMA-related kinase 2 overexpression is associated with poor survival in cancer patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Authors Yao Y, Su J, Zhao L, Luo N, Long L, Zhu X

Received 21 September 2018

Accepted for publication 19 November 2018

Published 3 January 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 455—465


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo

Yang Yao,1,* Jie Su,1,* Lei Zhao,2 Na Luo,3 Lihui Long,4 Xingmei Zhu5

1Department of Central Laboratory, The First Affiliated Hospital, Xi’an Medical University, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710077, PR China; 2Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA; 3Department of Clinical Medicine (Four-Year Program) of Grade 2014, Xi’an Medical University, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710021, PR China; 4Department of Pharmacy, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Medical University, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710077, PR China; 5Department of Pharmacy, Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine, Xianyang, Shaanxi 712046, PR China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Objective: NIMA-related kinase 2 (NEK2) has been reported to be overexpressed in various types of cancer and correlated with poor prognosis. The role(s) of NEK2 in cancer, however, is still uncertain. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic value of NEK2 in human tumors.
Methods: A comprehensive literature search was performed for PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and CNKI databases, and eligible studies were included based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. A meta-analysis of the included studies was then carried out.
Results: Fifteen studies with 3,280 cancer patients were included in the present meta-analysis. All publications were of moderate to high quality, and had no significant heterogeneity (I2=46%, P=0.03) or publication bias was discovered. The results showed that a high NEK2 level was associated with shorter overall survival (OS) in patients with various types of cancers (pooled HR=1.72, 95% CI 1.49–2.00, P<0.00001). However, the disease-free survival (DFS) had no significant association with NEK2 level (HR=1.13, 95% CI: 0.29–4.38, P=0.85). In the subgroup analyses, high NEK2 level was correlated with an increased risk of poor OS in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HR=1.62, 95% CI: 1.25–2.10, P=0.02) and lung cancer (HR=2.18, 95% CI: 1.40–3.38, P=0.0005). However, other factors, including sample size, follow-up period, HR estimation method, and country, also affect the association between NEK2 expression and OS. Analysis of clinicopathological parameters further showed that increased NEK2 level was correlated with younger age, male gender, better tumor differentiation, and lower number of tumor nodules.
Conclusion: The results of this study indicated that increased expression of NEK2 was associated with unfavorable survival of cancer patients and that NEK2 could be used as a prognostic predictor for cancers.

NEK2, prognosis, cancer, diagnosis, meta-analysis, clinical characteristics

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