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Prognostic value of tumor-associated macrophages in pancreatic cancer: a meta-analysis

Authors Yu M, Guan R, Hong W, Zhou Y, Lin Y, Jin H, Hou B, Jian Z

Received 6 December 2018

Accepted for publication 12 March 2019

Published 3 May 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 4041—4058

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S196951

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Ms Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo


Min Yu,1,* Renguo Guan,1,* Weifeng Hong,2 Yu Zhou,1 Ye Lin,1 Haosheng Jin,1 Baohua Hou,1 Zhixiang Jian1

1Department of General Surgery, Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital, Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Medical Imaging, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work


Objective: Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) deserve more focus because of its pivotal role in the development of solid tumors and they are related to poor outcomes of several tumors. However, the prognostic value of tumor-infiltrating TAMs in pancreatic cancer is still controversial.
Experimental design: We conduct a meta-analysis of 1699 patients in 13 studies by reviewing the studies in which the authors evaluated the prognostic value of TAMs density in pancreatic cancer. These studies were searched from inception to November 2018. Hazard ratios (HR) with their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were assessed to explore the prognostic significance of TAMs in pancreatic cancer. Besides, we also conducted a subgroup analysis and sensitivity analysis. Two reviewers independently abstracted data.
Results: A total of 13 studies with 1699 patients were pooled in the analysis to evaluate prognostic value of TAMs in pancreatic cancer. The pooled HRs demonstrated CD68+ TAMs correlated with worse overall survival (OS) in pancreatic cancer patients (HR =1.41, 95% CI =1.05–1.90, random effects model, I2,=82.5%, P=0.021). And high generalized M2-TAMs density was significantly associated with poor OS (HR =1.95, 95% CI =1.63–2.33, random effects model, I2,=59.2%, P=0.000) and disease-free survival (HR =1.83, 95% CI =1.43–2.36, fixed effects model, I2,=0.00%, P=0.000). Pooled analysis showed no significant correlation between elevated TAMs infiltration and lymph node metastasis, tumor stage, histological grade, sex, or tumor location.
Conclusion: The density of TAMs has an impact on the overall survival of pancreatic cancer patients. M2-TAMs can be recognized as a prognostic indicator in pancreatic cancer, which may serve as a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Keywords: prognostic markers, survival, pancreatic cancer, macrophage, systematic review, meta-analysis

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