Genetic variants and expression of the TIM-3 gene are associated with clinical prognosis in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer

Objective: Polymorphisms of T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-containing molecule 3 (TIM-3) were reported to be associated with cancer risk and patients’ survival. This study aims to investigate the correlation of TIM-3 polymorphisms with susceptibility to epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and patients’ outcomes.

Methods: A total of 700 EOC patients and 710 healthy controls from North China were included. The polymorphisms (rs10053538, rs10515746 and rs1036199) were genotyped using the polymerase chain reaction/ligase detection reaction (PCR-LDR) method. Survival data were available for 339 patients after cytoreductive surgery. The expression level of TIM-3 was detected by real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). The prognostic value of TIM3 in EOC patients was assessed using the Kaplan-Meier plotter database.

Results: The results showed that none of the TIM3 polymorphisms were associated with the risk of developing EOC. Patients with the rs10053538 CA + AA genotype had worse PFS and OS than those with the CC genotype (HR = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.05-2.09, P = 0.024 and HR = 1.57, 95%CI = 1.09-2.26, P = 0.017, respectively). The RT-qPCR results showed that the expression levels of TIM-3 mRNA in EOC tissues with the rs10053538CA + AA genotypes were significantly higher than those with the CC genotype (P = 0.006). Analysis using the Kaplan-Meier plotter database showed that high expression of TIM-3 mRNA was significantly associated with shorter PFS and OS in EOC patients (HR = 1.57, 95%CI = 1.29-1.91, P < 0.001 and HR = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.06-1.63, P = 0.013, respectively).

Conclusions: TIM-3 polymorphisms were not associated with risk of developing EOC. Both rs10053538 and the expression level of TIM-3 mRNA may be associated with its clinical outcome in EOC patients.

Keywords: Ovarian cancer; Polymorphism; Prognosis; Risk; TIM-3.