Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major risk factor for developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The host genetic factors that are involved in the development of HCC in patients with HCV infection remain to be investigated. To search for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in HCC susceptibility genes, 393 SNPs in 171 candidate genes were examined in 188 Japanese patients with chronic HCV infection, including 77 patients with HCC. HCC-related SNPs were then examined in another 188 patients (including 93 patients with HCC) with chronic HCV infection. Haplotype analyses of HCC-related genes were performed in a total of 376 patients. Of the 393 SNPs, 31 SNPs in 29 genes were significantly associated with HCC based on an initial screening (P < .05). Of these 31 SNPs, 3 SNPs of 3 genes (SCYB14, GFRA1, and CRHR2) were significantly associated with HCC in a secondary screening. Haplotype analyses of these 3 genes identified 2 haplotype blocks associated with HCC. In conclusion, these SNPs and haplotypes located in the SCBY14, CRHR2, and GFRA1 genes will be used as markers to identify a subgroup of Japanese patients with chronic HCV infection who are at high risk of developing HCC.
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