TIMP3 Gene Polymorphisms of -1296 T > C and -915 A > G Increase the Susceptibility to Arsenic-Induced Skin Cancer: A Cohort Study and In Silico Analysis of Mutation Impacts

Meei Maan Wu, Chi Wei Chen, Chiu Yi Chen, Chih Hung Lee, Mark Chou, Ling I. Hsu, Te Chang Lee, Chien Jen Chen

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Long-term exposure to arsenic may induce several human cancers, including non-melanoma skin cancer. The tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-3, encoded by the TIMP3 gene, may inhibit tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis of several cancer types. In this study, we aimed to investigate effects of the TIMP3 -1296 T > C (rs9619311) and -915 A > G (rs2234921) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on skin cancer risk in an arsenic-exposed population, and to evaluate the influence of allele-specific changes by an in silico analysis. In total, 1078 study participants were followed up for a median of 15 years for newly diagnosed skin cancer. New cases were identified through linkage to the National Cancer Registry of Taiwan. A Cox regression analysis was used to evaluate the effects of TIMP3 variants. Transcription factor (TF) profiling of binding sites of allele-specific changes in SNPs was conducted using the JASPAR scan tool. We observed borderline associations between TIMP3 genotypes and skin cancer risk. However, when combined with high arsenic exposure levels, the rs9619311 C allele, rs2234921 G allele, or C-G haplotype groups exhibited a greater risk of developing skin cancer compared to the respective common homozygous genotype group. The in silico analysis revealed several TF motifs located at or flanking the two SNP sites. We validated that the C allele of rs9619311 attenuated the binding affinity of BACH2, MEIS2, NFE2L2, and PBX2 to the TIMP3 promoter, and that the G allele of rs2234921 reduced the affinity of E2F8 and RUNX1 to bind to the promoter. Our findings suggest significant modifications of the effect of the association between arsenic exposure and skin cancer risk by the TIMP3 rs9619311 and rs2234921 variants. The predicted TFs and their differential binding affinities to the TIMP3 promoter provide insights into how TIMP3 interacts with arsenic through TFs in skin cancer formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14980
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • arsenic
  • genetic polymorphism
  • in silico analysis
  • molecular epidemiology
  • non-melanoma skin cancer
  • tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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