Original communication| Volume 135, ISSUE 4, P365-373, April 2004

Are postoperative complications genetically determined by TNF-β NcoI gene polymorphism?



      Postoperative infectious complications are the leading causes for postoperative sepsis. In severe sepsis, tumor necrosis factor-beta (TNF-β) NcoI polymorphism was associated with increased mortality. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine whether the biallelic NcoI polymorphism within the TNF locus is associated with the development of postoperative complications.


      One hundred sixty patients were included in this prospective observation study. Patients undergoing major gastrointestinal surgery, such as esophagectomy, gastrectomy, Whipple operation, major liver resection, or colon resection were included. Patients were monitored during the clinical course, and postoperative complications, divided into severe and minor complications, were documented. The NcoI restriction fragment length polymorphism of the TNF-β gene was determined by polymerase chain reaction; gene expression as well as complications were correlated.


      The patients' genotype distribution and demographic characteristics were comparable within the different groups of operations. Patients with the heterozygous genotype TNF-β1/β2 had a 1.6-fold higher relative risk for developing complications. If patients with the homozygous genotype TNF-β2 developed a complication, they had a 1.5-fold higher relative risk for severe complications. Furthermore, the mortality of patients with postoperative sepsis who were homozygous for the genotype TNF-β2 was significantly elevated.


      The TNF-β NcoI polymorphism influences the development of postoperative complications. While the genotype TNF-β1/β2 has a higher risk for developing complications in general, the TNF-β2/β2 genotype is associated with more severe complications and mortality from sepsis.
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