Skin cancer gene risk: DNA link found

Herald Sun 10/10/2011 p21, Courier Mail 10/10/2011 p12

Researchers have discovered genes that increase people’s chances of developing melanomas, which are unrelated to hair colour or skin sensitivity.

Two studies published this week in Nature Genetics identify four DNA faults, which could each increase a person’s risk by between 10 and 20 per cent.

Known risk factors for the deadliest form of skin cancer include fair skin, blue or green eyes, blond or red hair, a high number of moles, people who burn easily and those with a family history.

“We know that overexposure to UV increases the risk of developing melanoma – but this evidence shows that there are new additional genetic faults which can push up the risk further,” one of the authors, Cancer Research UK Professor Tim Bishop said.