Mitochondrial Common Deletion, a Potential Biomarker for Cancer Occurrence, Is Selected against in Cancer Background: A Meta-Analysis of 38 Studies
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been long proposed to play a major role in tumorigenesis. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations, especially the mtDNA 4,977 bp deletion has been found in patients of various types of cancer. In order to comprehend the mtDNA 4,977 bp deletion status in various cancer types, we performed a meta-analysis composed of 33 publications, in which a total of 1613 cancer cases, 1516 adjacent normals and 638 healthy controls were included. When all studies were pooled, we found that cancerous tissue carried a lower mtDNA 4,977 bp deletion frequency than adjacent non-cancerous tissue (OR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.20–0.92, P = 0.03 for heterogeneity test, I2 = 91.5%) among various types of cancer. In the stratified analysis by cancer type the deletion frequency was even lower in tumor tissue than in adjacent normal tissue of breast cancer (OR = 0.19, 95% CI = 0.06–0.61, P = 0.005 for heterogeneity test, I2 = 82.7%). Interestingly, this observation became more significant in the stratified studies with larger sample sizes (OR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.58–0.86, P = 0.0005 for heterogeneity test, I2 = 95.1%). Furthermore, when compared with the normal tissue from the matched healthy controls, increased deletion frequencies were observed in both adjacent non-cancerous tissue (OR = 3.02, 95% CI = 2.13–4.28, P<0.00001 for heterogeneity test, I2 = 53.7%), and cancerous tissue (OR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.04–1.77, P = 0.02 for heterogeneity test, I2 = 83.5%). This meta-analysis suggests that the mtDNA 4,977 bp deletion is often found in cancerous tissue and thus has the potential to be a biomarker for cancer occurrence in the tissue, but at the same time being selected against in various types of carcinoma tissues. Larger and better-designed studies are still warranted to confirm these findings.