Numerous studies have examined the prognostic value of ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7) in cancer, but the results remain controversial. Differences in assessment assays (mRNA/protein) used could be a potential confounding factor. Thus, we extracted studies that measured the protein expression and performed a meta-analysis to assess the prognostic role of USP7 expression in cancer and to identify clinicopathological features associated with USP7 expression.
PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science Core Collection, Wiley Online Library, and Google Scholar were searched from inception to July 2020. Pooled hazard ratios were calculated to evaluate the association between USP7 expression and overall survival (OS). In addition, pooled odds ratios were calculated to identify clinicopathological features associated with USP7 expression.
Eight studies in China were included in our meta-analysis, which had a total of 1192 patients and assessed five types of cancer. The pooled results revealed that a high expression of USP7 was associated with poor OS, especially in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Moreover, USP7 expression was increased in patients with tumour-node-metastasis (TNM) stages III-IV, poor pathological grade, and positive lymph node metastasis. For patients with EOC, a high USP7 expression positively correlated with lymph node metastasis.
A high USP7 expression may promote cancer progression and predict unfavourable prognosis of cancer patients, especially those with EOC. Our findings suggest that USP7 inhibitors might be promising therapeutics for cancer patients with such characteristics.

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