The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and phosphorylated mTOR (p-mTOR) occurring downstream in the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, are regarded as potential prognostic markers for gastric cancer (GC). However, the prognostic value of mTOR/p-mTOR expression remains controversial. In this study, we determined the expression of mTOR, p-mTOR, p70S6k, and p-p70S6K in GC, and investigated the correlation between their overexpression, clinicopathological parameters, and overall survival (OS).
The expression of mTOR, p-mTOR, p70S6k, and p-p70S6K was examined in 120 GC patients by immunohistochemistry (IHC). The association of protein expression with clinicopathological features and OS was explored. The p-mTOR expression was detected in normal, adjacent, and GC tissues using Western blot. Eligible studies retrieved from PubMed, Ovid, Web of Science and Cochrane databases, were reviewed in this meta-analysis.
IHC showed that the rates of expression of the signal transduction molecules mTOR, p-mTOR, p70S6k and p-p70S6K in GC were 60.8%, 54.2%, 53.3% and 53.3%, respectively. Overexpression of mTOR and p70S6K showed no significant association with clinical variables. Expression of p-mTOR was significantly associated with differentiation (P < 0.01), depth of invasion (P < 0.01), lymph node metastasis (P = 0.04) and TNM stage (P = 0.02). Expression of p-p70S6K was associated with differentiation (P = 0.006), depth of invasion (P < 0.001), and TNM stage (P = 0.02). In survival analysis, differentiation, depth of invasion, lymph node metastasis and TNM stage were not related to OS (all P > 0.05). Furthermore, p-mTOR and p-p70S6K expression, but not mTOR and p70S6K, were tightly associated with OS of GC patients (P = 0.006 and P < 0.001, respectively). In Western blot, p-mTOR was significantly higher in GC tissues than in normal and adjacent tissues. In the present meta-analysis, mTOR overexpression showed no relationship with any clinicopathological variables. However, p-mTOR was correlated with depth of invasion, and TNM stage (all P < 0.05), and its overexpression was associated with a shorter survival time (P < 0.001).
The results suggest that p-mTOR is a more valuable prognostic factor than mTOR in GC.