Prognostic and Clinicopathological Significance of Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Upregulation in Oral Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
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AuthorGonzález Moles, Miguel Ángel; Moya González, Eloísa; García Ferrera, Alberto; Nieto Casado, Paola; Ramos García, Pablo
Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT)hTERThEST2Replicative immortalityOral cancerPrognosisBiomarkerSystematic reviewMeta-analysis
González-Moles, M.Á... [et al.]. Prognostic and Clinicopathological Significance of Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Upregulation in Oral Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Cancers 2022, 14, 3673. [https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14153673]
The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the current evidence on the prognostic and clinicopathological significance value of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) upregulation in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). PubMed, Embase,Web of Science, and Scopus were searched for studies published before April 2022, not restricted by date or publication language. The methodological quality of primary-level studies was critically assessed using the Quality in Prognosis Studies (QUIPS) tool. We carried out meta-analyses, explored heterogeneity and its sources, and performed subgroup, meta-regression, sensitivity, and small-study effects analyses. Twenty-one studies (1698 patients) met inclusion criteria. TERT protein overexpression was significantly associated with worse overall survival (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.01, 95% CI = 1.70–5.35, p < 0.001), disease-free survival (HR = 4.03, 95% CI = 1.80–9.05, p = 0.001), and higher histological grade OSCC (odds ratio [OR] = 3.20, 95% CI = 1.83–5.62, p < 0.001). These large effect sizes were consistently obtained by homogeneous subgroups (p > 0.10, I2 = 0.0, respectively), which reflects a high quality of evidence. On the other hand, TERT gene mutations obtained constantly nonsignificant null effect sizes for all outcomes investigated, evidencing no prognostic or clinicopathological value. In conclusion, our findings indicate that TERT upregulation is a prognostic indicator of poor survival in oral cancer. Our findings support the immunohistochemical assessment of TERT overexpression, which could probably be incorporated into the prognostic evaluation of OSCC.