Simple Summary: Hepatocellular carcinoma remains a leading cause of cancer-related death and the most common primary hepatic malignancy in the Western hemisphere. Previous research found that angiogenesis-related cytokines and elevated levels of interleukin 8 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) shorten the expected time of survival. Moreover, factors of tumor angiogenesis- and hypoxia-driven signaling pathways are already associated with worse outcome in disease-free survival in several tumor entities. Our study investigates the prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma patients based on a selection of ten different single-nucleotide polymorphisms from angiogenesis, carcinogenesis, and hypoxia pathways. Our study with 127 patients found supporting evidence that polymorphisms in angiogenesis-associated pathways corelate with disease-free survival and clinical outcome in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.
Abstract: Tumor angiogenesis plays a pivotal role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) biology. Identifying molecular prognostic markers is critical to further improve treatment selection in these patients. The present study analyzed a subset of 10 germline polymorphisms involved in tumor angiogenesis pathways and their impact on prognosis in HCC patients undergoing partial hepatectomy in a curative intent. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues were obtained from 127 HCC patients at a German primary care hospital. Genomic DNA was extracted, and genotyping was carried out using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-restriction fragment length polymorphism-based protocols. Polymorphisms in interleukin-8 (IL-8) (rs4073; p = 0.047, log-rank test) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF C + 936T) (rs3025039; p = 0.045, log-rank test) were significantly associated with disease-free survival (DFS). After adjusting for covariates in the multivariable model, IL-8 T-251A (rs4073) (adjusted p = 0.010) and a combination of "high-expression" variants of rs4073 and rs3025039 (adjusted p = 0.034) remained significantly associated with DFS. High-expression variants of IL-8 T-251A may serve as an independent molecular marker of prognosis in patients undergoing surgical resection for HCC. Assessment of the patients' individual genetic risks may help to identify patient subgroups at high risk for recurrence following curative-intent surgery.