, Volume 71, Issue 4, pp 893-904
Date: 26 Jan 2013

Thrombocytosis and immunohistochemical expression of connexin 43 at diagnosis predict survival in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy

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Patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have poor survival, and platinum-based chemotherapy agents are the standard first-line chemotherapy agents for advanced NSCLC. This study aimed to identify predictive factors associated with the response to chemotherapy and survival in 258 patients with advanced NSCLC treated with platinum-based chemotherapy.


Stage IIIA–IV NSCLC patients diagnosed in Kaifeng second people’s hospital (Henan, China) between March 2002 and September 2011 were retrospectively reviewed. All of the patients had received platinum-based chemotherapy, and patients were followed up to date of death or last follow-up to obtain data of response to chemotherapy and survival. Potential prognostic factors such as gender, age, tumor size, tumor type, histologic stage, anemia, calcium levels, ECOG performance status (PS), thrombocytosis, TTF-1, p63, and connexin 43 were analyzed. Response to chemotherapy, overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were calculated by the Kaplan–Meier method and Cox regression model.


A univariate analysis indicated that thrombocytosis and connexin 43 were found to be significant prognostic factors (p < 0.001) and ECOG PS, Hb levels, and p63 presented a tendency toward association with survival. Kaplan–Meier survival showed that the mean OS and PFS in chemotherapy responders with connexin 43 ≥+2 were significantly longer than in chemotherapy responders with connexin 43 ≤1+. In contrast, thrombocytosis was associated with increased mortality and resistance to chemotherapy in chemotherapy responders. In addition, all 21 patients of the 5-year OS were from chemotherapy responders with connexin 43 ≥+2 or non-thrombocytosis.


Thrombocytosis and connexin 43 absence may be reliable surrogate markers for the prediction of chemotherapy response and prognosis for patients with advanced NSCLC, and assessment of these factors may identify a population of patients with advanced NSCLC that is likely to have a prolonged life expectancy.

Gangjun Du and Yingming Yang have contributed equally to this work.
An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00280-013-2188-8.