Background: Accumulated evidences demonstrated that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in mRNA 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) may impact microRNAs (miRNAs)-mediated expression regulation of oncogenes and tumor suppressors. There is a TNFAIP2 3'-UTR rs8126 T>C genetic variant which has been proved to be associated with head and neck cancer susceptibility. This SNP could disturb binding of miR-184 with TNFAIP2 mRNA and influence TNFAIP2 regulation. However, it is still unclear how this polymorphism is involved in development of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Therefore, we hypothesized that the functional TNFAIP2 rs8126 SNP may affect TNFAIP2 expression and, thus, ESCC risk.
Methods: We investigated the association between the TNFAIP2 rs8126 variant and ESCC risk as well as the functional relevance on TNFAIP2 expression in vivo. Genotypes were determined in a case-control set consisted of 588 ESCC patients and 600 controls. The allele-specific regulation on TNFAIP2 expression by the rs8126 SNP was examined in normal and cancerous tissue specimens of esophagus.
Results: We found that individuals carrying the rs8126 CC or CT genotype had an OR of 1.89 (95%CI = 1.23-2.85, P = 0.003) or 1.38 (95%CI = 1.05-1.73, P = 0.017) for developing ESCC in Chinese compared with individual carrying the TT genotype. Carriers of the rs8126 CC and CT genotypes had significantly lower TNFAIP2 mRNA levels than those with the TT genotypes in normal esophagus tissues (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that functional TNFAIP2 rs8126 genetic variant is a ESCC susceptibility SNP. These results support the hypothesis that genetic variants interrupting miRNA-mediated gene regulation might be important genetic modifiers of cancer risk.