Graduate Institute of Cancer Biology and Center for Molecular Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan ; The Ph.D. Program for Cancer Biology and Drug Discovery, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan ; Department of Biotechnology, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan.
The enhancer of zeste 2 (EZH2) gene encodes the histone methyltransferase that is the catalytic component of the polycomb repressive complex-2, which initiates epigenetic silencing of genes. The expression level of EZH2 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is highly correlated with tumor progression; however, it has not been determined if specific EZH2 genetic variants are associated with the risk of HCC. This study investigated the potential associations of EZH2 single-nucleotide polymorphisms with HCC susceptibility and its clinicopathologic characteristics.
A total of 220 HCC patients and 552 cancer-free controls were analyzed for four EZH2 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (rs6950683, rs2302427, rs3757441, and rs41277434) using real-time PCR genotyping. After adjusting for other co-variants, the individuals carrying at least one C allele at EZH2 rs6950683 and rs3757441 had a 0.611-fold and a 0.660-fold lower risk of developing HCC than did wild-type (TT) carriers, respectively. The CCCA or CCTA haplotype among the four EZH2 sites (rs6950683, rs2302427, rs3757441, and rs41277434), respectively, was also associated with a reduced risk of HCC. Furthermore, HCC patients who carried at least one C allele at rs6950683 or rs3757441 had a higher lymph-node-metastasis risk but a lower liver-cirrhosis risk than did patients carrying the wild-type allele.
The rs6950683 and rs3757441 polymorphic genotypes of EZH2 might contribute to the prediction of susceptibility to and pathological development of HCC. This is the first study to provide insight into risk factors associated with EZH2 variants in carcinogenesis of HCC in Taiwan.