Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Germany; University of NewCastle, England, UK.
Two polymorphisms in the STAT4 and HLA-DQ loci were more recently reported to associate with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) induced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We utilised an independent Vietnamese cohort of clinically classified HBV patients of chronic hepatitis B carriers (n=206), liver cirrhosis (n=222) and hepatocellular carcinoma (n=239) and assessed the influence of the reported variants. The STAT4 variant (rs7574865) was marginally associated with HCC susceptibility in CHB carriers in allelic and recessive genetic models (OR=0.84, 95%CI=0.7-0.99, P=0.048 and OR=0.7, 95%CI=0.5-0.99, P=0.047). No significant association between the studied variant with several clinical parameters such as liver enzymes (ALT, AST), total and direct bilirubin, AFP, HBV genotype and viral loads were observed. Our study highlights the reported variant to be a trivial factor and possibly other confounding factors may regulate STAT4 expression during HCC development.