Prognostic Value of Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 Expression in Breast Cancer Patients: A Meta-analysis

  • Song, Jian (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University) ;
  • Su, Hong (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University) ;
  • Zhou, Yang-Yang (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University) ;
  • Guo, Liang-Liang (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University)
  • Published : 2013.03.30


Background: Matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) is related to tumor invasion and metastasis. However, the role of MMP-9 expression in breast cancer survival remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to accomplish a more accurate estimation of the association between MMP-9 expression and survival results in breast cancer patients through meta-analysis. Methods: A meta-analysis of published studies investigating the effects of positive MMP-9 expression on both relapse free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) was performed. Relevant literature was confirmed by searching electronic databases including PubMed, Ovid, EMBASE and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) before November 1, 2012. Individual hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were extracted and pooled HRs with 95% CIs were used to evaluate the strength of the association between positive MMP-9 expression and survival results of breast cancer patients. Funnel plot and Egger's regression tests were used to evaluate publication bias. Heterogeneity and sensitivity analysis was also conducted. All the work was completed using STATA. Results: A total of 2,344 patients from 15 evaluative studies were finally included. Pooled HRs and 95% CIs suggested that MMP-9 overexpression had an unfavorable impact on both OS (HR: 1.70, 95% CI: 1.41-2.04) and RFS (HR: 1.54, 95% CI: 1.17-2.01) in breast cancer patients. There was no significant heterogeneity observed in the studies reported for OS (P=0.360, $I^2$=8.8%), but not RFS (P=0.002, $I^2$=67%). Publication bias was absent among the studies both in OS and RFS cases (t=-0.54, P=0.605 and t=1.71, P=0.131, respectively). Omission of any single study had little effect on the combined risk estimates on sensitivity analysis. Conclusion: The results of this meta-analysis suggest that positive MMP-9 expression confers a higher risk of relapse and a worse survival in patients with breast cancer. Larger prospective studies are now needed to evaluate the clinical utility of MMP-9 expression.


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