Publication Details

Brungs, D., Chen, J., Aghmesheh, M., Vine, K. L., Becker, T. M., Carolan, M. G. & Ranson, M. (2017). The urokinase plasminogen activation system in gastroesophageal cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Oncotarget, 8 (14), 23099-23109.


Background: The urokinase plasminogen activation (uPA) system is a crucial pathway for tumour invasion and establishment of metastasis. Although there is good evidence that uPA system expression is a clinically relevant biomarker in some solid tumours, its role in gastroesophageal cancer is uncertain. Results: We identified 22 studies encompassing 1966 patients which fulfilled the inclusion criteria. uPA, uPAR, or PAI-1 expression is significantly associated with high risk clinicopathological features. High uPA expression is associated with a shorter RFS (HR 1.90 95% 1.16-3.11, p = 0.01) and OS (HR 2.21 95% CI 1.74-2.80, p < 0.0001). High uPAR expression is associated with poorer OS (HR 2.21 95%CI 1.82-2.69, p < 0.0001). High PAI-1 expression is associated with shorter RFS (HR 1.96 96% CI 1.07-3.58, p = 0.03) and OS (HR 1.84 95%CI 1.28-2.64, p < 0.0001). There was no significant association between PAI-2 expression and OS (HR 0.97 95%CI 0.48-1.94, p < 0.92) although data was limited. Materials and Methods: We undertook a systematic review evaluating expression of uPA, urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1/SerpinE1) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-2 (PAI-2/SerpinB2) on primary oesophageal, gastro-oesophageal junction, and gastric adenocarcinomas. We performed a meta-analysis of clinicopathological associations, overall survival (OS) and recurrence free survival (RFS). Conclusions: We conclude that the uPA system is a clinically relevant biomarker in primary gastroesophageal cancer, with higher expression of uPA, uPAR and PAI-1 associated with higher risk disease and poorer prognosis. This also highlights the potential utility of the uPA system as a therapeutic target for improved treatment strategies.



Link to publisher version (DOI)