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. 2016 Sep 16;11(9):e0162666.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162666. eCollection 2016.

Prognostic Value of Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) in Human Solid Carcinomas: A Meta-Analysis

Free PMC article

Prognostic Value of Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) in Human Solid Carcinomas: A Meta-Analysis

Xiao-Qing Zeng et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


Background: Recently, the number of reports on focal adhesion kinase (FAK) as a vital therapeutic target in solid carcinomas has increased; however, the prognostic role of FAK status remains poorly understood. This study aims to evaluate the prognostic effect of FAK by means of a meta-analysis.

Methods: We performed a systematic literature search in order to examine the correlation between expression of FAK and overall survival(OS). The hazard ratio (HR) of OS was used to measure survival. A random-effects model was used to pool study statistics. Sensitivity and publication bias analyses were also conducted.

Results: Thirty eligible studies involving 4702 patients were included. The median expression rate of FAK was 54%. Meta-analysis of the HRs demonstrated that high FAK expression was associated with worse OS (average HR = 2.073, 95%confidence interval[CI]:1.712-2.510, p = 0.000). Regarding cancer type, FAK was associated with worse OS in gastric cancer (HR = 2.646,95% CI:1.743-4.017, p = 0.000), hepatocellular carcinoma (HR = 1.788,95% CI:1.228-2.602, p = 0.002), ovarian cancer (HR = 1.815, 95% CI: 1.193-2.762, p = 0.005), endometrial cancer (HR = 4.149, 95% CI:2.832-6.079, p = 0.000), gliomas (HR = 2.650, 95% CI: 1.205-5.829, p = 0.015), and squamous cell carcinoma (HR = 1,696, 95% CI: 1.030-2.793, p = 0.038). No association was found between HR and disease staging according to our meta-regression analysis.

Conclusions: Our study shows that high expression of FAK is associated with a worse OS in patients with carcinomas, but the association between FAK and prognosis varies according to cancer type. The value of FAK status in clinical prognosis in cancer needs further research.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Fig 1
Fig 1. Selection of studies included in the analysis.
Fig 2
Fig 2. Forest plots.
Hazard ratios for each study are represented by the squares, the size of square represents the weight of the study in the meta-analysis, and the horizontal line crossing the square represents the 95% confidence interval(CI). All statistical tests were two-sided.
Fig 3
Fig 3. Results of meta-regression.
Ln(HR)-ln(percentage of advanced stage).
Fig 4
Fig 4. Begg’s funnel plot of FAK expression and overall survival (OS) in patients with solid tumor.

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Grant support

This study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai (Grant no. 14ZR1406600). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.