Prognostic role of human epidermal growth factor receptor in gastric cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Arch Med Res. 2013 Jul;44(5):380-9. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2013.07.001. Epub 2013 Jul 16.


Background and aims: Human epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2 (ErbB2) both belong to EGFR family, which are overexpressed in a significant proportion of cases of gastric cancer (GC). Various studies have evaluated the prognostic value of EGFR or HER level in GC. However, the overall test performance remains unclear. We undertook this study to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of prognostic cohort studies evaluating the use of EGFR or HER2 as a predictor of survival time in patients with GC.

Methods: Eligible studies were identified through multiple search strategies. Studies were assessed for quality using the Newcastle-Ottawa Tool. Data were collected comparing overall survival (OS) in patients with high and low EGFR or HER2 level. Studies were pooled and summary hazard ratios were calculated.

Results: Studies were listed twice if they provided overall survival data for both EGFR and HER2. Eight studies (seven for EGFR and eight for HER2) were included. Two distinct groups were pooled for analysis and revealed that high EGFR, HER2 levels predicted poor overall (HR = 1.66, 95% CI: 1.35-2.02) and (HR = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.09-1.88) survival. No publication bias was found.

Conclusions: This meta-analysis result suggested that EGFR or HER2 should have significant predictive ability for estimating overall survival in GC patients and may be useful for defining prognosis of GC patients.

Keywords: EGFR; Gastric cancer; HER2; Human epidermal growth factor receptor; Meta-analysis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / mortality*


  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2