BACKGROUND: Toll-like receptors (TLR) are key innate immunity receptors participating in an immune response. Growing evidence suggests that mutations of TLR2/TLR9 gene are associated with the progress of cancers. The present study aimed to investigate the temporal relationship of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of TLR2/TLR9 and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: In this single center-based case-control study, SNaPshot method was used to genotype sequence variants of TLR2 and TLR9 in 211 patients with HCC and 232 subjects as controls.
RESULTS: Two synonymous SNPs in the exon of TLR2 were closely associated with risk of HCC. Compared with those carrying wild-type homozygous genotypes (T/T), risk of HCC decreased significantly in individuals carrying the heterozygous genotypes (C/T) of the rs3804099 (adjusted odds ratio (OR), 0.493, 95% CI 0.331 - 0.736, P < 0.01) and rs3804100 (adjusted OR, 0.509, 95% CI 0.342 - 0.759, P < 0.01). There was no significant association found in two TLR9 SNPs concerning the risk of HCC. The haplotype TT for TLR2 was associated significantly with the decreased risk of HCC (OR 0.524, 95% CI 0.394 - 0.697, P = 0.000). Inversely, the risk of HCC increased significantly in patients with the haplotype CC (OR 2.743, 95% CI 1.915 - 3.930, P = 0.000).
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggested that TLR2 rs3804099 C/T and rs3804100 C/T polymorphisms were closely associated with HCC. In addition, the haplotypes composed of these two TLR2 synonymous SNPs have stronger effects on the susceptibility of HCC.