Seasonal Variation in TP53 R249S-Mutated Serum DNA with Aflatoxin Exposure and Hepatitis B Virus Infection

Molecular Carcinogenesis Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.
Environmental Health Perspectives (Impact Factor: 7.98). 07/2011; 119(11):1635-40. DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1103539
Source: PubMed


Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and dietary aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) exposure are etiological factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in countries with hot, humid climates. HCC often harbors a TP53 (tumor protein p53) mutation at codon 249 (R249S). In chronic carriers, 1762T/1764A mutations in the HBV X gene are associated with increased HCC risk. Both mutations have been detected in circulating cell-free DNA (CFDNA) from asymptomatic HBV carriers.
We evaluated seasonal variation in R249S and HBV in relation to AFB1 exposure.
R249S was quantitated by mass spectrometry in CFDNA in a cross-sectional survey of 473 asymptomatic subjects (237 HBV carriers and 236 noncarriers) recruited in three villages in the Gambia over a 10-month period. 1762T/1764A HBV mutations were detected by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. In addition, the HBV S gene was sequenced in 99 subjects positive for HBV surface antigen (HBsAg).
We observed a seasonal variation of serum R249S levels. Positivity for R249S and average concentration were significantly higher in HBsAg-positive subjects surveyed during April-July (61%; 5,690 ± 11,300 R249S copies/mL serum) than in those surveyed October-March [32% and 480 ± 1,030 copies/mL serum (odds ratio = 3.59; 95% confidence interval: 2.05, 6.30; p < 0.001)]. Positivity for HBV e antigen (HBeAg) (a marker of HBV replication) and viral DNA load also varied seasonally, with 15-30% of subjects surveyed between April and June HBeAg positive, compared with < 10% surveyed during other months. We detected 1762T/1764A mutations in 8% of carriers, half of whom were positive for R249S. We found HBV genotype E in 95 of 99 HBsAg-positive subjects.
R249S is detectable in CFDNA of asymptomatic subjects. Evidence of temporal and quantitative variations suggests an interaction among AFB1 exposure, HBV positivity, and replication on TP53 mutation formation or persistence.

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    • "Quantitation of extracted DNA was performed by fluorimetry using PicoGreen (Molecular Probes, Eugene, OR). R249S was detected and quantified against a synthetic, internal standard plasmid by short oligonucleotide mass analysis (SOMA) as described previously (Lleonart et al., 2005; Villar et al., 2011). Plasma concentrations were expressed as copies of R249S- mutated DNA per ml of plasma. "
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    • "Thus, based on RFLP assay, serum specimens negative for R249S mutation might contain levels that were too low for detection by this method. Second, the presence and amount of R249S mutation in serum may fluctuate among individuals according to season, with a pattern differs from the well-known seasonal variations in exposure to AFB1 (Villar et al., 2011). In addition, individual exposure to AFB1 is likely to fluctuate among different geographic areas and ecological zones (Liu et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: In regions with high prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and dietary aflatoxin B(1) (AFB(1)) exposure, hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) often contain TP53 mutation at codon 249 (R249S). Furthermore, a C-terminal truncated HBx protein expressed from hepatocyte integrated HBV is associated with HCC development. This study evaluates the association between R249S and HBX status in relation to HCC in West African population. HBX (complete or 3'-truncated) and HBS genes were assessed by PCR in cell-free DNA (CFDNA) from plasma of subjects recruited in a hospital-based case-control study (325 controls, 78 cirrhotic patients and 198 HCC cases) conducted in The Gambia. These samples had been previously analyzed for R249S and HBV serological status. Complete HBX sequence was frequently detected in CFDNA of HCC-R249S positive (77%, 43/56) compared with HCC-R249S-negative cases (44%, 22/50). Conversely, the proportion of 3'-truncated HBX gene was significantly higher in HCC-R249S negative than positive cases (34%, 17/50, compared with 12%, 7/56) (χ(2) = 12.12; P = 0.002; distribution of R249S negative and positive according to HBX status). Occult HBV infection (detected by PCR) was present in 24% of HCC previously considered as negative by HBV serology. Moreover, HBV mutation analysis revealed that double mutation at nucleotides 1762(T)/1764(A) was associated with diagnosis of cirrhosis or HCC {cirrhosis: odds ratio (OR): 9.50 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.50-60.11]; HCC: OR: 11.29 [95% CI 2.07-61.47]}. These findings suggest that in HCC from The Gambia, complete HBX sequences are often associated with the presence of TP53 R249S mutation.
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