In this study, we investigated the association between the IFN-λ3 rs12979860 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and the transition from late fibrosis to HCC in Egyptian HCV-chronically infected patients.
The rs12979860 SNP was genotyped using real-time PCR in DNA from the whole blood of healthy subjects (n=60) and HCV patient   s (n=342). We stratified the patients into (1) treatment-naïve patients (n=218) with advanced fibrosis (F2-F4, n=123) and HCC (n=95 Treatment-experienced patients (n=124)  who received SOF-based therapy for 12 weeks and achieved SVR (SVR12). DAA-treated patients were divided into 2 groups: group I (n=63) included patients with advanced hepatic fibrosis (F2-F4) who did not develop HCC within a year after treatment, and group II (n=61) included patients who were free of focal hepatic lesions before starting DAA therapy but developed HCC within a year.
Our results demonstrated that treatment-naïve patients with the CT/TT genotypes and the T allele were more likely to have HCC (odds ratio 3.1, 95% CI 1.44-6.71, P = 0.003 and odds ratio 1.89, 95% CI 1.28-2.76, P = 0.001, respectively). Binary regression analysis defined 3 independent predictors associated with HCC development: age (odds ratio 1.039, 95% CI 1.004-1.076, P = 0.028), alanine aminotransferase (odds ratio 1.008, 95% CI 1.002-1.015, P = 0.010), and rs12979860 (odds ratio 3.65, 95% CI 1.484-8.969, P = 0.005).
However, the rs12979860 SNP did not show any correlation with the progression of HCC post-treatment. Despite the debate on the contribution of IFN-λ3 rs12979860 to susceptibility to HCV-related HCC, our data confirm the role of this SNP in this context.