New genetic variant found to influence melanoma risk

New research by scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine and 23andMe sheds more light on the genetics of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Published today in the journal Oncotarget, this genome wide association study quickly replicated 21 genetic variants associated with melanoma that were identified from seven other studies. In addition to replicating those variants, the study found one novel variant near a gene region known as BASP1 which could be protective against melanoma. The researchers found that in individuals with this form of cancer, the expression of BASP1 was suppressed, conferring an almost two-fold increased risk. “This implicates a potential tumor-suppressive role for BASP1 in melanoma,” the researchers said. Taken together the findings confirm an association between melanoma and genes involved with pigmentation, tumor suppression, the maintenance of telomere length, the formation of moles, as well as DNA repair.