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Association study of two inflammation-related polymorphisms with susceptibility to hepatocellular carcinoma: a meta-analysis

Jiajing Liu12, Bo Xie3, Shuilian Chen1, Feng Jiang1 and Wei Meng1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology, Key Laboratory of Public Health Security, Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China

2 Department of Human Resources, Shanghai East Hospital, Tongji University, Shanghai, China

3 Department of Medical Insect Vectors Control, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China

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BMC Medical Genetics 2014, 15:92  doi:10.1186/s12881-014-0092-7

Published: 10 August 2014



Inflammation is a response of body tissues to injury or irritation. Small RNAs, such as miR-146a and miR-499, participate in various processes of tumorigenesis. A recent study indicates that inflammation and abnormal immune responses may promote malignant progression in cancer development, indicating that inflammation-related polymorphisms such as miR-146a rs2910164 and miR-499 rs3746444 are crucial. However, studies on the association of these two polymorphisms with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are inconclusive and inconsistent. We aimed at accessing the combined result of reported studies and make a more precise estimate of the relationship.


Meta-analysis was performed on the associations between the miR-146a rs2910164 C > G and miR-499 rs3746444 T > C polymorphisms and hepatocellular carcinoma, using: allele contrast, dominant, and recessive models. A total of 12 studies(8 on miR-146a rs2910164 and 4 on miR-499 rs3746444) with three populations (Chinese, Korean, Turkish) were included in this study.


Results show that both allele frequency and genotype distributions of miR-146a rs2910164 polymorphism are significantly associated with susceptibility to HCC (G versus C: OR = 1.153, 95% CI 1.083–1.228, P < 0.001; GC versus CC: OR = 1.165, 95% CI 1.054–1.286, P = 0.003; GG versus CC: OR = 1.361, 95% CI 1.192–1.553, P < 0.001; GG/GC versus CC: OR = 1.213, 95% CI 1.104–1.333, P < 0.001; GG versus GC/CC: OR = 1.210, 95% CI 1.080–1.356, P < 0.001). Our data suggest that people with G allele have a higher susceptibility to HCC as compared to those with C allele. However, meta-analysis failed to detect associations between miR-499 rs3746444 and HCC risk under each genetic model tested. Subgroup analysis showed that Chinese population with CC genotype are more vulnerable to HCC (OR = 2.171, 95% CI = 1.149–4.104, P = 0.017) than those with TT genotype.


We conclude that rs2910164 in miR-146a may confer susceptibility to HCC, especially in the Chinese population. No significant association was found between miR-499 rs3746444 and HCC, but subgroup study showed that subjects with CC genotype are more vulnerable to HCC than TT genotype in the Chinese population.