The recognition of a correlation between patatin-like phospholipase domain containing-protein 3 (PNPLA3) rs738409 (C>G) and the severity of liver steatosis or fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) has not reached a consensus. This meta-analysis sought to investigate with accuracy the association between the PNPLA3 rs738409 (C>G) polymorphism and liver steatosis and advanced fibrosis in CHC patients.
We performed a comprehensive literature search from the PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases up to December 31, 2014. Crude odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. Statistical analyses were performed using Stata 12.0 software.
The meta-analysis revealed the severity of liver fibrosis was significantly higher in CHC patients with PNPLA3 rs738409 GG in Caucasians (versus CC+CG OR, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.57 to 3.35; p<0.05) but not Asian populations. In Caucasians, liver steatosis was also more severe in CHC patients with rs738409 GG (versus CC+CG; OR, 4.33; 95% CI, 2.59 to 7.22; p<0.05). The sensitivity analysis indicated the results of this meta-analysis were stable and no publication bias was detected.
PNPLA3 rs738409 (C>G) was associated with the risk of both advanced liver fibrosis and steatosis in patients with CHC, especially among Caucasian populations.