Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 10 pp 13693—13707

PDGFR-β+ fibroblasts deteriorate survival in human solid tumors: a meta-analysis

Guoming Hu1, *, , Liming Huang1, *, , Kefang zhong1, , Liwei Meng1, , Feng Xu1, , Shimin Wang2, , Tao Zhang3, &, ,

  • 1 Department of General Surgery (Breast and Thyroid Surgery), Shaoxing People’s Hospital, Shaoxing Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Zhejiang 312000, China
  • 2 Department of Nephrology, Shaoxing People’s Hospital; Shaoxing Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Zhejiang 312000, China
  • 3 Department of General Surgery III, Affiliated Hospital of Shaoxing University, Zhejiang 312000, China
* Equal contribution

Received: January 11, 2021       Accepted: April 2, 2021       Published: May 3, 2021
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2021 Hu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Fibroblasts are a highly heterogeneous population in tumor microenvironment. PDGFR-β+ fibroblasts, a subpopulation of activated fibroblasts, have proven to correlate with cancer progression through multiple of mechanisms including inducing angiogenesis and immune evasion. However, the prognostic role of these cells in solid tumors is still not conclusive. Herein, we carried out a meta-analysis including 24 published studies with 6752 patients searched from PubMed, Embase and EBSCO to better comprehend the value of such subpopulation in prognosis prediction for solid tumors. We noted that elevated density of intratumoral PDGFR-β+ fibroblasts was remarkably associated with worse overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) of patients. In subgroup analyses, the data showed that PDGFR-β+ fibroblast infiltration considerably decreased OS in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), breast and pancreatic cancer, and reduced DFS in breast cancer. In addition, increased number of PDGFR-β+ fibroblasts appreciably correlated with advanced TNM stage of patients. In conclusion, PDGFR-β+ fibroblast infiltration deteriorates survival in human solid tumors especially in NSCLC, breast and pancreatic cancer. Hence, they may offer a practicable prognostic biomarker and a potential therapeutic strategy for these patients.


OS: overall survival; DFS: disease-free survival; HRs: hazard ratios; ORs: odds ratios; Cl: confidence interval; TNM: Tumor, Lymph Node, Metastasis; BC: breast cancer; NSCLC: non-small cell lung cancer; PC: pancreatic cancer; CRC: colorectal cancer; ECM: extracellular matrix; TME: tumor microenvironment; NR: not reported; HPF: high power field.