Associations between HLA Class I alleles and the prevalence of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) among Tunisians

Xin Li, Nahla Ghandri, Daniela Piancatelli, Sharon Adams, Deborah Chen, Fu Meei Robbins, Ena Wang, Alessandro Monaco, Silvia Selleri, Noureddine Bouaouina, David Stroncek, Domenico Adorno, Lotfi Chouchane, Francesco M. Marincola

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The high prevalence of nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) in Southern Asia and Mediterranean Northern Africa suggests genetic predisposition among other factors. While Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) haplotypes have been conclusively associated with NPC predisposition in Asians, Northern African Maghrebians have been less intensely studied. However, low resolution serological methods identified weak positive associations with HLA-B5, B13 and B18 and a negative with HLA-B14. Using sequence based typing (SBT), we performed a direct comparison of HLA class I frequencies in a cohort of 136 Tunisian patients with NPC matched for gender, age and geographical residence to 148 normal Tunisians. The bimodal age distribution of NPC in Maghrebians was also taken into account. HLA frequencies in normal Tunisians were also compared with those of Northern Moroccan Berbers (ME) to evaluate whether the Tunisian population in this study could be considered representative of other Maghrebian populations. HLA-B14 and -Cw08 were negatively associated with NPC (odd ratio = 0.09 and 0.18 respectively, Fisher P2- value = 0.0001 and = 0.003). Moreover, positive associations were observed for HLA-B-18, -B51 (split of -B5) and -B57 (P2-value < 0.025 in all) confirming previous findings in Maghrebs. The HLA-B14/ Cw*08 haplotype frequency (HF) was 0.007 in NPC patients compared to 0.057 in both Tunisian (OR = 0.12; P2-value = 0.001) and Moroccan controls. This study confirms several previous associations noted by serologic typing between HLA class I alleles and the prevalence of NPC in Maghrebians populations. In addition, we identified a putative haplotype rare in Tunisian patients with NPC that may serve as a genetic marker for further susceptibility studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2007
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Li, X., Ghandri, N., Piancatelli, D., Adams, S., Chen, D., Robbins, F. M., Wang, E., Monaco, A., Selleri, S., Bouaouina, N., Stroncek, D., Adorno, D., Chouchane, L., & Marincola, F. M. (2007). Associations between HLA Class I alleles and the prevalence of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) among Tunisians. Journal of Translational Medicine, 5, [22].