Document Type: Research Articles
Department of Biochemistry, MUHAS Genetics Laboratory, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania.
University of Dar es Salaam, Mbeya College of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania.
Ocean Road Cancer Institute, Tanzania.
Child Health Institute, Department of Medical Genetics, Istanbul University, Turkey.
Background: During cancer growth, immunosuppressive microenvironment is created that enables tumour cells to evade an eliminative immune response and hence manage to grow into malignancy. HLA-G, existing as either membrane-bound (mHLA-G) or soluble (sHLA-G) molecule is thought to be immunosuppressive and produced more by tumor cells. The +3142G/C polymorphism in HLA-G gene affects its expression, and G allele is considered to be a protective mutant allele associated with less expression of HLA-G. The implication of HLA-G in cancer development has been reported in different cancers and populations. But, its implication in most African populations has not yet been investigated. The aim of this study was to determine the possible associations of soluble HLA-G and HLA-G +3142G/C SNP with breast cancer. Materials and Methods: 75 breast cancer patients and 84 normal controls were recruited in this study. The genotyping of HLA-G +3142G/C polymorphism was determined by LightSNiP typing assay using quantitative Real-Time PCR and sHLA-G levels were determined by ELISA. Results: The sHLA-G levels were significantly lower in breast cancer patients than in controls (p<0.001). Also, they were significantly lower in mastectomized patients compared to non-mastectomized patients (p=0.018). The ROC analysis revealed a significant ability of sHLA-G to differentiate breast cancer patients versus normal controls (AUC=0.697, 95% CI= 0.619-0.767, p<0.001) and identify mastectomized patients (AUC=0.667, 95% CI= 0.549 to 0.772, p=0.041). The assessment of +3142G/C polymorphism revealed a relatively similar distribution of frequencies of genotypes and alleles between breast cancer patients and normal controls (p>0.05) and was neither associated with sHLA-G levels. Conclusion: While the +3142G/C SNP was found not to be relevant to breast cancer, the changes of sHLA-G levels in response to medical interventions such as mastectomy may be translated into its potential prognostic utility for breast cancer. More studies are needed to provide clear evidence of sHLA-G as a diagnostic and prognostic marker of breast cancer in Tanzania.