Evidence has suggested that tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α may be involved in the aetiology of psoriasis, but the underlying association of the TNF-α polymorphisms −238G/A (rs361525) and −308G/A (rs1800629) with the risk of psoriasis is still unconfirmed.


This meta-analysis was performed to determine whether the TNF-α −238G/A and −308G/A polymorphisms are associated with susceptibility to psoriasis.


Eligible studies were identified by searching PubMed, EMBASE, CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure), CBM (Chinese biomedical literature database) and WANFANG databases within a range of published years from 1990 to August 2012. The odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were used to assess the different associations.


In total, 17 studies with 2847 cases and 2222 controls were found for −238G/A and 20 studies with 2975 cases and 2243 controls for −308G/A. The pooled results showed an overall increased risk of psoriasis for the −238G/A polymorphism (OR = 2.06, 95% CI = 1.45–2.94, < 0.001 for AA/GA vs. GG) and a reduced psoriasis risk with the −308G/A polymorphism (OR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.59–0.79, < 0.001 for AA/GA vs. GG). This association was only present in early-onset psoriasis (OR = 3.68, 95% CI = 2.17–6.24, < 0.001 for −238G/A; OR = 0.56, 95% CI = 0.43–0.72, < 0.001 for −308G/A), whereas there was no association (OR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.56–1.70, P = 0.92 for −238G/A) or a unreliable association (OR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.46–0.94, P = 0.02 for −308G/A) in late-onset psoriasis.


This meta-analysis suggests that the TNF-α –238 and –308 promoter polymorphisms may play different roles in conferring susceptibility to psoriasis. Functional and well-designed studies should be conducted to confirm these results.