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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2017

Prognostic value of transforming growth factor-beta in patients with colorectal cancer who undergo surgery: a meta-analysis

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2017
Xin-lin Chen, Zhuo-qun Chen, Shui-lian Zhu, Tian-wen Liu, Yi Wen, Yi-sheng Su, Xu-jie Xi, Yue Hu, Lei Lian, Feng-bin Liu
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12885-017-3215-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) is associated with a higher incidence of distant metastasis and decreased survival. Whether TGF-β can be used as a prognostic indicator of colorectal cancer (CRC) remains controversial.


The Medline, EMBASE and Cochrane databases were searched from their inception to March 2016. The studies that focused on TGF-β as a prognostic factor in patients with CRC were included in this analysis. Overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were analysed separately. A meta-analysis was performed, and hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.


Twelve studies were included in the analysis, of which 8 were used for OS and 7 for DFS. In all, 1622 patients with CRC undergoing surgery were included. Combined HRs suggested that high expression of TGF-β had a favourable impact on OS (HR = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.10–2.59) and DFS (HR = 1.11, 95% CI: 1.03–1.19) in CRC patients. For OS, the combined HRs of Asian studies and Western studies were 1.50 (95% CI: 0.61–3.68) and 1.80 (95% CI: 1.33–2.45), respectively. For DFS, the combined HRs of Asian studies and Western studies were 1.42 (95% CI: 0.61–3.31) and 1.11 (95% CI: 1.03–1.20), respectively.


This meta-analysis demonstrates that TGF-β can be used as a prognostic biomarker for CRC patients undergoing surgery, especially for CRC patients from Western countries.
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