The rs599839 a>g variant disentangles cardiovascular risk and hepatocellular carcinoma in nafld patients

Marica Meroni, Miriam Longo, Erika Paolini, Anna Alisi, Luca Miele, Emilia Rita De Caro, Giuseppina Pisano, Marco Maggioni, Giorgio Soardo, Luca Vittorio Valenti, Anna Ludovica Fracanzani, Paola Dongiovanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims: Dyslipidemia and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are comorbidities of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which ranges from steatosis to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The rs599839 A>G variant, in the CELSR2‐PSRC1‐SORT1 gene cluster, has been associated CVD, but its impact on metabolic traits and on the severity liver damage in NAFLD has not been investigated yet. Methods: We evaluated the effect of the rs599839 variant in 1426 NAFLD patients (Overall cohort) of whom 131 had HCC (NAFLD‐HCC), in 500,000 individuals from the UK Biobank Cohort (UKBBC), and in 366 HCC samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Hepatic PSRC1, SORT1 and CELSR2 expressions were evaluated by RNAseq (n = 125). Results: The rs599839 variant was associated with reduced circulating LDL, carotid intima‐media thickness, carotid plaques and hypertension (p <0.05) in NAFLD patients and with protection against dyslipidemia in UKBBC. The minor G allele was associated with higher risk of HCC, independently of fibrosis severity (odds ratio (OR): 5.62; 95% c.i. 1.77–17.84, p = 0.003), poor prognosis and advanced tumor stage (p <0.05) in the overall cohort. Hepatic PSRC1, SORT1 and CELSR2 expressions were increased in NAFLD patients carrying the rs599839 variant (p < 0.0001). SORT1 mRNA levels negatively correlated with circulating lipids and with those of genes involved in lipoprotein turnover (p < 0.0001). Conversely, PSRC1 expression was positively related to that of genes implicated in cell proliferation (p < 0.0001). In TCGA, PSRC1 over‐expression promoted more aggressive HCC development (p < 0.05). Conclusions: In sum, the rs599839 A>G variant is associated with protection against dyslipidemia and CVD in NAFLD patients, but as one it might promote HCC development by modulating SORT1 and PSRC1 expressions which impact on lipid metabolism and cell proliferation, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1783
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2 2021


  • Genetic variants
  • HCC
  • Lipid metabolism
  • PSRC1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'The rs599839 a>g variant disentangles cardiovascular risk and hepatocellular carcinoma in nafld patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this