RUNX3 promoter methylation correlation with pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma in Asians.
Runt-related transcription factor 3 (RUNX3) is a potential tumor suppressor that is frequently hypermethylated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The present meta-analysis of case-control studies was carried out to determine whether RUNX3 hypermethylation is associated with HCC. The PubMed, Embase, and Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure databases were searched for all relevant studies published between May 2000 and May 2012. A total of 11 studies were identified, and 8 studies involving 491 patients with HCC and 409 patients without tumors were found to satisfy the inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis. All tissue samples were from Asian populations. There was significant heterogeneity between the studies. Over the entire sample, the odds ratio (OR) of RUNX3 promoter methylation was 18.5 [95% confidence interval (CI), 11.6-29.6] for HCC tissues relative to control tissues. The ORs of RUNX3 methylation were 16.6 (95%CI = 6.5-42.4) for tumor tissues relative to tumor-adjacent tissues in patients with HCC, 67.3 (95%CI = 13.0-348.5) for tumor tissues from patients with HCC relative to liver tissues from patients with non-neoplastic liver diseases, and 3.26 (95%CI = 1.54-6.90) for tissues from patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)- related HCC relative to liver tissues from patients with HCC unrelated to HCV. There was no association between RUNX3 methylation and age, gender, pathological stage, or hepatitis B virus infection in HCC tissues. Methylation of the RUNX3 promoter strongly correlated with HCC in Asian populations, especially in individuals with HCV-related HCC, and may be a useful marker for HCC diagnosis in these populations.