Objectives: MET is a receptor present in the membrane of NSCLC cells and is known to promote cell proliferation, survival and migration. MET gene copy number is a common genetic alteration and inhibition o MET emerges as a promising targeted therapy in NSCLC. Here we aim to combine in a meta-analysis, data on the effect of high MET gene copy number on the overall survival of patients with resected NSCLC.
Methods: Two independent investigators applied parallel search strategies with the terms "MET AND lung cancer", "MET AND NSCLC", "MET gene copy number AND prognosis" in PubMed through January 2014. We selected the studies that investigated the association of MET gene copy number with survival, in patients who received surgery.
Results: Among 1096 titles that were identified in the initial search, we retrieved 9 studies on retrospective cohorts with adequate retrievable data regarding the prognostic impact of MET gene copy number on the survival of patients with NSCLC. Out of those, 6 used FISH and the remaining 3 used RT PCR to assess the MET gene copy number in the primary tumor. We calculated the I2 statistic to assess heterogeneity (I2 = 72%). MET gene copy number predicted worse overall survival when all studies were combined in a random effects model (HR = 1.78, 95% CI 1.22-2.60). When only the studies that had at least 50% of adenocarcinoma patients in their populations were included, the effect was significant (five studies, HR 1.55, 95% CI 1.23-1.94). This was not true when we included only the studies with no more than 50% of the patients having adenocarcinoma histology (four studies HR 2.18, 95% CI 0.97-4.90).
Conclusions: Higher MET gene copy number in the primary tumor at the time of diagnosis predicts worse outcome in patients with NSCLC. This prognostic impact may be adenocarcinoma histology specific.