New skin cancer gene located

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Related tags: Cancer research uk, Gene, Cancer, Genetics

Cancer Research UK scientists have found the location of a new gene
on chromosome 1 which pre-disposes people to skin cancer.

Cancer Research UK scientists have found the location of a new gene on chromosome 1 which pre-disposes people to skin cancer, according to a study published today in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Inheriting a mutated version of the gene, found in the short arm of chromosome 1 (1p22) is thought to give people a much higher than average chance of developing malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and may be responsible for up to a third of inherited cases.

The study provides an insight into the way in which melanoma develops, and in the future, will help doctors to identify, monitor and advise those more susceptible to the disease to help them reduce their risk.

The most important cause of melanoma is exposure to the sun, but researchers think that, in around 10 per cent of cases, inherited genes play a role.

Past research has already identified two genes - CDKN2A and CDK4 - which have been shown to confer an increased risk of malignant melanoma, they account for only 20 to 25 per cent of families with multiple cases of the disease.

"Some people may inherit an increased susceptibility to melanoma and for these individuals avoiding the sun's rays becomes even more important,"​ said Dr Julia Newton-Bishop, part of the husband and wife team who worked on the study, from the Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre at St James University Hospital in Leeds.

High risk genes for breast cancer have been identified and well researchedand we are running an international effort to discover similar genes formelanoma, a disease that is becoming increasingly more common, she added.

The team searched for new risk genes by analysing genetic data from around80 Australian, European and American families, with three or more cases ofmelanoma, that were not caused by a faulty version of either the CDKN2A orCDK4 genes. They found that a number of the families had the 1p22 of DNA on chromosome 1 in common and had inherited it in a pattern that matched theinheritance of melanoma.

Related topics: Preclinical Research

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