Back to Journals » OncoTargets and Therapy » Volume 9

Prognostic significance of circulating tumor cells in esophageal carcinoma: a meta-analysis

Authors Qiao G, qi W, Jiang W, Chen Y, Ma L

Received 6 November 2015

Accepted for publication 3 February 2016

Published 31 March 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 1889—1897


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Wei An

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Daniele Santini

Guang-Lei Qiao,1 Wei-Xiang Qi,2 Wei-Hua Jiang,1 Ying Chen,1 Li-Jun Ma1

1Department of Oncology, Tongren Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 2Department of Radiation Oncology, Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Purpose: The prognostic significance of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in esophageal carcinoma (EC) is controversial. We aim to assess its association with clinicopathological and prognostic relevance in EC by using a meta-analysis.
Methods: We searched PubMed, Cochrane Database, Embase databases, and the references in relevant studies that assessed the clinicopathological or prognostic relevance of CTCs in peripheral blood of patients with EC. Statistical analyses were conducted by using Stata software to calculate the pooled odds ratio (OR), hazard ratio (HR), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using fixed or random-effects models according to the heterogeneity of included studies. The subgroup analyses were performed according to ethnicity, histological type, and detection method.
Results: Sixteen trials containing 1,260 patients were included for analysis. Pooled results showed that presence of CTCs was significantly associated with poor overall survival (HR =1.71, 95% CI [1.30, 2.12], P<0.001) and progression-free survival (HR =1.67, 95% CI [1.19, 2.15], P<0.001) in EC patients. Subgroup analysis indicated that presence of CTCs was closely associated with worse overall survival (Asian: HR =1.66, 95% CI [1.24, 2.08], P<0.001; squamous cell carcinoma [SCC]: HR =1.66, 95% CI [1.24, 2.08], P<0.001; no polymerase chain reaction [PCR]: HR =2.08, 95% CI [1.40, 2.76], P<0.001) and progression-free survival (Asian: HR =1.63, 95% CI [1.15, 2.12], P<0.001; SCC: HR =1.63, 95% CI [1.15, 2.12], P<0.001; PCR: HR =1.63, 95% CI [1.15, 2.12], P<0.001). Additionally, ORs showed that presence of CTCs was significantly correlated with tumor node metastasis (TNM) staging (overall: OR =1.96, 95% CI [1.34, 2.87], P=0.001; Asian: OR =2.09, 95% CI [1.37, 3.19], P=0.001; SCC: OR =1.97, 95% CI [1.21, 3.07], P=0.003; PCR: OR =2.23, 95% CI [1.43, 3.47], P<0.001), venous invasion (overall: OR =2.23, 95% CI [1.46, 3.40], P<0.001; Asian: OR =2.23, 95% CI [1.46, 3.40], P<0.001; SCC: OR =2.23, 95% CI [1.46, 3.40], P<0.001; PCR: OR =2.23, 95% CI [1.46, 3.40], P<0.001), lymph node metastasis (overall: OR =2.41, 95% CI [1.50, 3.86], P<0.001; Asian: OR =2.89, 95% CI [1.80, 4.65], P<0.001; SCC: OR =2.44, 95% CI [1.47, 4.07], P=0.001; PCR: OR =2.89, 95% CI [1.80, 4.65], P<0.001) and distant metastasis (Asian: OR =2.68, 95% CI [1.01, 7.08], P=0.047) in patients with EC.
Conclusion: The presence of CTCs indicates a poor prognosis in EC patients, especially in Asian and SCC patients. Further well-designed prospective studies are recommended to explore the clinical applications of CTCs in patients with EC.
Keywords: CTCs, esophageal carcinoma, metastasis, Asian, prognosis, meta-analysis

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]