Association of human leukocyte antigens with nasopharyngeal carcinoma in high-risk multiplex families in Taiwan

Kelly J. Yu, Xiaojiang Gao, Chien Jen Chen, Xiaohong (Rose) Yang, Scott R. Diehl, Alisa Goldstein, Wan Lun Hsu, Xueying (Sharon) Liang, Darlene Marti, Mei Ying Liu, Jen Yang Chen, Mary Carrington, Allan Hildesheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


An association between specific human leukocyte antigens (HLA) alleles and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) has been reported for sporadic NPC, but studies of familial NPC are lacking. We evaluated this association with familial NPC in a study of 301 NPC cases and 1010 family and community controls from Taiwan. Class I HLA alleles were characterized using a sequence-based typing protocol. Allele frequencies between case and control groups were compared by χ2 or exact tests. For alleles associated with NPC, odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. Similar allelic frequency distribution and HLA associations were found as those previously reported for sporadic NPC: protective effect for HLA-A*1101 and increased risk for HLA-A*0207, HLA-A*3303, HLA-B*3802, and HLA-B*5801. Overall, the magnitude of observed associations was weakest when cases were compared with sibling controls and strongest when compared with unrelated community controls. Evaluating the joint effect of HLA-A*0207 and HLA-B*4601, individuals who were carriers of HLA-A*0207 with or without the presence of HLA-B*4601 had a 1.9-fold (95% CI = 1.0-3.4) and 2.1-fold (95% CI = 0.83-5.3) risk of NPC, respectively. Conversely, carriers of HLA-B*4601 in the absence of HLA-A*0207 had a 50% reduction in NPC risk (95% CI = 0.27-0.93). Comparable findings from our family study and those from previous sporadic studies were found with the notable exception of a lack of positive association between HLA-B*4601 and familial NPC in the absence of HLA-A*0207. This finding requires replication in larger studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)910-914
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • Human leukocyte antigens
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma

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