The impact of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of patatin-like phospholipase domaincontaining protein 3 (PNPLA3) on development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is not clarified for Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C. The present study investigated the associations of rs738409 PNPLA3 with HCC development after the antiviral therapy with peg-interferon and ribavirin for Japanese patients with hepatitis C virus serotype 1 and high viral load. Of the 271 patients enrolled in the study, 20 patients developed HCC, during a median follow-up period of 4.6 years. Multivariate analysis in the proportional hazards models revealed that sex, body mass index, platelet counts, and alpha feroprotein (AFP) had significant associations with HCC development (p = 0.011, 0.029, 0.0002, and 0.046, respectively). Multivariate regression analysis revealed that PNPLA3 148 M was significantly associated with serum AFP level (p = 0.032), other than body mass index, platelet count, and alanine aminotransferase (p = 0.0006, 0.0002, and 0.037, respectively), and that serum AFP level was significantly associated with PNPLA3 148 M (p = 0.017). Serum AFP level is an important factor in predicting HCC development after the antiviral therapy for Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C, the mechanism of which might involve its significant associations with the SNP genotype of PNPLA3.
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