Department of Clinical Laboratory, First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi 530021, P.R. China.
There is an increasing amount of evidence supporting the hypothesis that the pathological stage from hepatitis to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a chronic inflammatory process. Interleukin‑23 (IL‑23) is an important mediator and modulator of inflammation. Specific polymorphisms in the genes encoding subunits of the IL‑23 receptor (IL‑23R) have been consistently observed to be associated with chronic immune‑mediated diseases. In the current study, these variants were hypothesized to affect the risk of hepatitis B virus infection in patients. Three polymorphisms in the IL‑23R gene (rs10889677, rs1884444 and rs11465817) were examined in 84 cases of chronic hepatitis B (HBV), 67 cases of HBV‑related liver cirrhosis, 89 cases of HBV‑related HCC and 94 healthy controls using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)‑restriction fragment length polymorphism method and DNA sequencing. The results revealed that subjects with the TG genotype of rs1884444 appeared to have higher susceptibility to HCC compared with the TT genotype (adjusted odds ratio (OR), 2.86; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.39‑5.85; P=0.00). The rs1884444 G allele was associated with a significantly increased risk of HCC compared with the T allele (adjusted OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 0.96‑2.60; P=0.07). The rs11465817 and rs10889677 polymorphisms of the IL‑23R gene were not observed as being relevant to liver disease. These observations indicate that the genetic variants in the IL‑23R gene may contribute to HCC development. Additional studies with larger sample sizes must be conducted to confirm the current observations.