Sex-specific effect of RNASEL rs486907 and miR-146a rs2910164 polymorphisms’ interaction as a susceptibility factor for melanoma skin cancer

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The genetics of melanoma is complex and, in addition to environmental influences, numerous genes are involved or contribute toward melanoma predisposition. In this study, we evaluated the possible interaction between miR-146a and one of its putative targets ribonuclease L (RNASEL) in the risk of sporadic melanoma. Polymorphisms rs2910164 in miR-146a and rs486907 in the RNASEL gene have both independently been associated with the risk of different cancers, and an interaction between them has been observed in nonmelanoma skin cancer. Polymorphisms rs2910164 G/C and rs486907 A/G were genotyped by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis in 304 sporadic melanoma patients and 314 control individuals. Genotype distribution between cases and controls for each of the two polymorphisms was compared using Fisher’s exact test. Epistasis between the two polymorphisms was tested by a logistic regression model. In the present study, we observed a sex-specific effect of the miR-146a rs2910164 C allele restricted to individuals carrying the RNASEL rs486907 A allele as well. Men carrying this allelic combination have the highest risk of melanoma, whereas it seems to have no effect or even an opposite relationship to melanoma risk in the female population. The results reported in the present study suggest a sex-specific interaction between miR-146a and RNASEL genes in melanoma skin cancer susceptibility, and could account for possible discordant results in association studies when stratification according to sex is not performed.

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