Background: A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) using chronic HBV (hepatitis B virus) carriers with and without hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in five independent Chinese populations found that one SNP (rs17401966) in KIF1B was associated with susceptibility to HCC. In the present study, a total of 580 HBV-derived HCC cases and 1351 individuals with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) or asymptomatic carrier (ASC) were used for replication studies in order to evaluate the reported association with HBV-derived HCC in other East Asian populations.Results: We did not detect any associations between rs17401966 and HCC in the Japanese cohorts (replication 1: OR = 1.09, 95 % CI = 0.82-1.43; replication 2: OR = 0.79, 95 % CI = 0.54-1.15), in the Korean cohort (replication 3: OR = 0.95, 95 % CI = 0.66-1.36), or in the Hong Kong Chinese cohort (replication 4: OR = 1.17, 95 % CI = 0.79-1.75). Meta-analysis using these cohorts also did not show any associations with P = 0.97.Conclusions: None of the replication cohorts showed associations between rs17401966 and HBV-derived HCC. This may be due to differences in the genetic diversity among the Japanese, Korean and Chinese populations. Other reasons could be the high complexity of multivariate interactions between the genomic information and the phenotype that is manifesting. A much wider range of investigations is needed in order to elucidate the differences in HCC susceptibility among these Asian populations.
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