Tumour biology : the journal of the International Society for Oncodevelopmental Biology and Medicine

A functional variant at miR-34a binding site in toll-like receptor 4 gene alters susceptibility to hepatocellular carcinoma in a Chinese Han population.

PMID 25179842


Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) plays a key role in prompting the innate or immediate response. A growing body of evidence suggests that genetic variants of TLR4 gene were associated with the development of cancers. This study aimed to investigate the relationship of a functional variant (rs1057317) at microRNA-34a (miR-34a) binding site in toll-like receptor 4 gene and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. A single center-based case-control study was conducted. In this study, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and direct sequencing were used to genotype sequence variants of TLR4 in 426 hepatocellular carcinoma cases and 438 controls. The modification of rs1057317 on the binding of hsa-miR-34a to TLR4 messenger RNA (mRNA) was measured by luciferase activity assay. Individuals carrying the AA genotypes for the rs1057317 were associated significantly with increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma comparing with those carrying wild-type homozygous CC genotypes (adjusted odds ratio [OR] by sex and age, from 1.116 to 2.452, P = 0.013). The activity of the reporter vector was lower in the reporter vector carrying C allele than the reporter vector carrying A allele. Furthermore, the expression of TLR4 was detected in the peripheral blood mononucleated cell of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients, suggesting that mRNA and protein levels of TLR4 might be associated with SNP rs1057317. Collectively, these results suggested that the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma was associated with a functional variant at miR-34a binding site in toll-like receptor 4 gene. miR-34a/TLR4 axis may play an important role in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.