Background: TNF-α promoter polymorphism is known to play an important role in the immunopathogenesis of infection of hepatitis B virus. Aims: We investigated whether polymorphisms of TNF-α promoter at position -308 or -238 had associations with the response to lamivudine treatment. Methods: A total of 89 healthy subjects (control group) and 225 patients with chronic hepatitis B treated with lamivudine were included in this study. Polymorphisms of TNF-α promoter at position -308 and -238 were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction. Recruited patients were classified according to the outcome of lamivudine treatment into the responder (103 patients) or non-responder (122 patients) group. Results: The numbers of A allelic polymorphism of TNF-α promoter at position -238 were four (2.2%) in the control, five (2.4%) in the responder and 19 (7.8%) in the non-responder group. The A allele was noted significantly more frequently in the responder than non-responder group (P = 0.012). At position -308, a significant difference was observed between the control group (14; 7.9%) and total chronic hepatitis B patients (15; 3.3%) (P = 0.015). Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that the non-response to lamivudine treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis B might be related to the A allelic polymorphism of TNF-α promoter at position -238.
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