Prognostic value of neuron-specific enolase for small cell lung cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Lung Cancer

Tian Z, et al. World J Surg Oncol 2020.


BACKGROUND: Neuron-specific enolase (NSE) has become a widely used and easily attainable laboratory assay of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). However, the prognostic value of NSE for SCLC patients remains controversial. The aim of the study was to evaluate the correlation between elevated serum NSE before therapy and survival of SCLC patients.

METHODS: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis. A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register from the inception dates to December 2019. Eligible articles were included according to inclusion and exclusion criteria; then, data extraction and quality assessment were performed. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS), and the secondary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS).

RESULTS: We identified 18 studies comprising 2981 patients. Pooled results revealed that elevated NSE was associated with worse OS (HR = 1.78, 95% CI 1.55-2.06, p < 0.001) and PFS (HR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.16-1.93, p = 0.002). In subgroup analysis, elevated NSE did not predict worse OS in patients who received only chemotherapy (HR 1.22, 95% CI 0.96-1.55, p = 0.10) or part of whom received surgical resection before chemotherapy and radiotherapy (HR = 2.16, 95% CI 0.82-5.69, p = 0.12).

CONCLUSION: Elevated serum NSE before any therapy of SCLC patients may be a negative prognostic factor for OS and PFS. The prognostic value of NSE for OS was particularly observed in patients treated by standard management.