Background: Transforming growth factor beta-induced protein (TGFBI) is a secreted protein that mediates cell anchoring to the extracellular matrix. This protein is downregulated in lung cancer, and when overexpressed, contributes to apoptotic cell death. Using a small series of stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, we previously suggested the usefulness of TGFBI as a prognostic and predictive factor in chemotherapy-treated late-stage NSCLC. In order to validate and extend these results, we broaden the analysis and studied TGFBI expression in a large series of samples obtained from stage I-IV NSCLC patients.
Methods: TGFBI expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry in 364 completely resected primary NSCLC samples: 242 adenocarcinomas (ADCs) and 122 squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Kaplan-Meier curves, log-rank tests and the Cox proportional hazards model were used to analyse the association between TGFBI expression and survival.
Results: High TGFBI levels were associated with longer overall survival (OS, P < 0.001) and progression-free survival (PFS, P < 0.001) in SCC patients who received adjuvant platinium-based chemotherapy. Moreover, multivariate analysis demonstrated that high TGFBI expression is an independent predictor of better survival in patients (OS: P = 0.030 and PFS: P = 0.026).
Conclusions: TGFBI may be useful for the identification of a subset of NSCLC who may benefit from adjuvant therapy.