BACKGROUND:
Host genetic modifiers of the natural history of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) remain poorly understood. Recently, a genome-wide association study (GWAS)-identified polymorphism in the STAT4 gene that contributes to the risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was shown to be associated with the full spectrum of hepatitis B virus (HBV) outcomes in Asian patients. However, the functional mechanisms for this effect are unknown and the role of the variant in modulating HBV disease in Caucasians has not been investigated.
AIMS:
To determine whether STAT4 genetic variation is associated with liver injury in Caucasian patients with CHB and to investigate potential mechanisms mediating this effect.