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Mutat Res. 2008 Jan 8;649(1-2):1-6. Epub 2007 Oct 11.

Genetic polymorphism in the manganese superoxide dismutase gene is associated with an increased risk for hepatocellular carcinoma in HCV-infected Moroccan patients.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Virologie, Institut Pasteur du Maroc 1, Place Louis Pasteur, 20100, Casablanca, Morocco.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) ranks among the 10 most common cancers worldwide. The main risk factors for its development are hepatitis B and C virus infections. Hepatitis B and C viruses induce chronic inflammation and oxidative stress that could predispose a cell to mutagenesis and proliferation. Manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) catalyses the detoxification of free radicals, thus playing a crucial role in the protection against damage. A valine (Val) to alanine (Ala) substitution at amino acid 9, mapping within the mitochondrion-targeting sequence of the MnSOD gene, has been associated with an increased cancer risk. The aim of our study was to investigate a possible association of the Val/Ala-MnSOD polymorphism and HCC development in Moroccan patients. Genotypes were determined by means of PCR and RFLP analysis in 96 patients with HCC and 222 control subjects matched for age, sex, and ethnicity. Homozygous Ala/Ala carriers were 31% in the cases and 18% in the controls, which corresponds to an odds ratio (OR) of 2.89, with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.47-5.68. Stratification into subgroups based on HCV infection status revealed an even more increased risk for homozygous Ala/Ala carriers with hepatitis C infection (38.2% in the cases versus 14.8% in the control subjects OR, 5.09; 95% CI, 1.76-14.66). Our findings provide further evidence of an association between the Ala-9Val MnSOD polymorphism and HCC occurrence in hepatitis C virus-infected Moroccan patients.

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