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High producer variant of lipoprotein lipase may protect from hepatocellular carcinoma in alcohol-associated cirrhosis.

JHEP reports : innovation in hepatology

Authors: Franziska Schmalz, Janett Fischer, Hamish Innes, Stephan Buch, Christine Möller, Madlen Matz-Soja, Witigo von Schönfels, Benjamin Krämer, Bettina Langhans, Alexandra Klüners, Michael Soyka, Felix Stickel, Jacob Nattermann, Christian P Strassburg, Thomas Berg, Philipp Lutz, Hans Dieter Nischalke

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Progression of alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD) is driven by genetic predisposition. The rs13702 variant in the lipoprotein lipase (LPL) gene is linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. We aimed at clarifying its role in ALD.

METHODS: Patients with alcohol-associated cirrhosis, with (n = 385) and without hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (n = 656), with HCC attributable to viral hepatitis C (n = 280), controls with alcohol abuse without liver damage (n = 366), and healthy controls (n = 277) were genotyped regarding the rs13702 polymorphism. Furthermore, the UK Biobank cohort was analysed. LPL expression was investigated in human liver specimens and in liver cell lines.

RESULTS: Frequency of the rs13702 CC genotype was lower in ALD with HCC in comparison to ALD without HCC both in the initial (3.9% 9.3%) and the validation cohort (4.7% . 9.5%; <0.05 each) and compared with patients with viral HCC (11.4%), alcohol misuse without cirrhosis (8.7%), or healthy controls (9.0%). This protective effect (odds ratio [OR] = 0.5) was confirmed in multivariate analysis including age (OR = 1.1/year), male sex (OR = 3.0), diabetes (OR = 1.8), and carriage of the I148M risk variant (OR = 2.0). In the UK Biobank cohort, the rs13702 C allele was replicated as a risk factor for HCC. Liver expression of mRNA was dependent on rs13702 genotype and significantly higher in patients with ALD cirrhosis compared with controls and alcohol-associated HCC. Although hepatocyte cell lines showed negligible LPL protein expression, hepatic stellate cells and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells expressed LPL.

CONCLUSIONS: LPL is upregulated in the liver of patients with alcohol-associated cirrhosis. The rs13702 high producer variant confers protection against HCC in ALD, which might help to stratify people for HCC risk.

IMPACT AND IMPLICATIONS: Hepatocellular carcinoma is a severe complication of liver cirrhosis influenced by genetic predisposition. We found that a genetic variant in the gene encoding lipoprotein lipase reduces the risk for hepatocellular carcinoma in alcohol-associated cirrhosis. This genetic variation may directly affect the liver, because, unlike in healthy adult liver, lipoprotein lipase is produced from liver cells in alcohol-associated cirrhosis.

© 2023 The Author(s).

PMID: 36879887

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