The prognostic importance of examining ErbB receptor family expression in human bladder cancer remains uncertain. Using published evidence, we examined the clinical value and the updated results of clinical trials targeting ErbB receptor family members. Twenty-seven articles from 65 references related to ErbB receptor expression assessment in bladder cancer were reviewed. The estimates included the association significance, hazard ratios, and 95 confidence intervals (CIs) from actuarial curves and survival analyses. A meta-analysis was done on those reports using univariate log-rank tests or a Cox-regression model. The methods of analysis and study subjects chosen varied widely among studies. The overall risks of disease progression for patients with EGFR or ErbB2 overexpression were 4.5 (95 CI: 2.58.4) and 1.1 (95 CI: 0.61.9), and the risks of mortality were 3.0 (95 CI: 1.65.9) and 1.1 (95 CI: 1.01.2), respectively. However, the significance of coexpression patterns of the ErbB receptor family remains controversial. None of six clinical trials yielded convincing results for blockading ErbB receptor signaling in urothelial carcinoma. The results of this analysis suggest that assessing co-expression patterns of the ErbB family may provide better prognostic information for bladder cancer patients.
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