University of Oulu

Hujanen, R.; Almahmoudi, R.; Karinen, S.; Nwaru, B.I.; Salo, T.; Salem, A. Vasculogenic Mimicry: A Promising Prognosticator in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Esophageal Cancer? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Cells 2020, 9, 507.

Vasculogenic mimicry : a promising prognosticator in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and esophageal cancer? A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Author: Hujanen, Roosa1; Almahmoudi, Rabeia1; Karinen, Sini1;
Organizations: 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases, Clinicum, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2Krefting Research Centre, Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, 40530 Gothenburg, Sweden
3Wallenberg Centre for Molecular and Translational Medicine, Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, 40530 Gothenburg, Sweden
4Translational Immunology Research Program (TRIMM), Research Program Unit (RPU), University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
5Cancer and Translational Medicine Research Unit, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
6Medical Research Centre, Oulu University Hospital, 90220 Oulu, Finland
7Helsinki University Hospital (HUS), 00029 Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-06-10


Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) is an intratumoral microcirculation pattern formed by aggressive cancer cells, which mediates tumor growth. In this study, we compiled the evidence from studies evaluating whether positive VM status can serve as a prognostic factor to patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC) or esophagus (ESCC). Comprehensive systematic searches were conducted using Cochrane Library, Ovid Medline, PubMed, and Scopus databases. We appraised the quality of studies and the potential for bias, and performed random-effect meta-analysis to assess the prognostic impact of VM on the overall survival (OS). Seven studies with 990 patients were eligible, where VM was detected in 34.24% of patients. Positive-VM was strongly associated with poor OS (hazard ratio = 0.50; 95% confidence interval: 0.38–0.64), which remained consistent following the subgroup analysis of the studies. Furthermore, VM was associated with more metastasis to local lymph nodes and more advanced stages of HNSCC and ESCC. In conclusion, this study provides clear evidence showing that VM could serve as a promising prognosticator for patients with either HNSCC or ESCC. Further studies are warranted to assess how VM can be implemented as a reliable staging element in clinical practice and whether it could provide a new target for therapeutic intervention.

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Series: Cells
ISSN: 2073-4409
ISSN-E: 2073-4409
ISSN-L: 2073-4409
Volume: 9
Issue: 2
Article number: 507
DOI: 10.3390/cells9020507
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 3122 Cancers
Funding: This research was funded by Emil Aaltonen Foundation (Emil Aaltosen Säätiö); Doctoral Program in Clinical Research (KLTO), Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland; The MD-PhD Programme (Tutkijalääkäriohjelma), Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland; K. Albin Johanssons stiftelses foundation; Cancer Society of Finland; Sigrid Jusélius Foundation; Oulu University Hospital MRC Grant; and Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUS) Research Funds.
Copyright information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (