Research Unit of Hepatitis and Liver Cancer, Department of Biochemistry, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is major health problem with high mortality rates, especially in patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Telomerase function is one of common mechanisms affecting genome stability and cancer development. Recent studies demonstrated that genetic polymorphisms of telomerase associated genes such as telomerase associated protein 1 (TEP1) rs1713449 and PIN2/TERF1-interacting telomerase inhibitor 1 (PINX1) rs1469557 may be associated with risk of HCC and other cancers. In this study, 325 patients with HCC and 539 non-HCC groups [193 healthy controls, 80 patients with HBV-related liver cirrhosis (LC) and 266 patients with HBV-related chronic hepatitis (CH)] were enrolled to explore genetic polymorphisms of both SNPs using the allelic discrimination method based on MGB probe TaqMan real time PCR. We demonstrated that all genotypes of both genes were in Hardy-Wienberg equilibrium (>0.05). Moreover, there was no significant association between rs1713449 genotypes and HCC risk, HCC progression and overall survival (>0.05). Interestingly, we observed positive association of rs1469557 with risk of HCC when compared with the LC group under dominant (CC versus CTTT, OR=1.89, 95% CI= 1.06-3.40, P=0.031) and allelic (C versus T alleles, OR=1.75, 95% CI=1.04-2.94, P=0.033) models, respectively. Moreover, overall survival of HCC patients with CC genotype of rs1469557 was significantly higher than non-CC genotype (Log-rank P=0.015). These findings suggest that PINX1 rs1469557 but not TEP1 rs1469557 might play a role in HCC progression in Thai patients with LC and be used as the prognosis marker to predict overall survival in HCC patients.