Dark hair? Your genes may still put you 'at melanoma risk' | entertainment | Hindustan Times
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Dark hair? Your genes may still put you 'at melanoma risk'

entertainment Updated: Apr 22, 2009 20:43 IST

Have dark hair? Well, your genes may still put at melanoma risk, says a new study.

Researchers at Pennsylvania University have identified that genetic variants in MC1R gene could help predict the risk of melanoma in people who are not usually classified as "high risk" lot.

"Traditionally, a clinician might look at a person with dark hair who did not sunburn easily and classify them as lower risk for melanoma, but that may not be true for all," lead researcher Peter Kanetsky said."

For the current study, the researchers analysed 779 patients with melanoma from the Pigmented Lesion Clinic of the University of Pennsylvania and compared them with 325 healthy control patients.

Overall, the presence of certain MC1R variants was associated with a more than two-fold risk of melanoma, but this risk was largely confined to those patients who would not usually be considered to be at elevated risk.

Although those with dark hair are not thought to be at increased risk for melanoma, if they had dark hair and also inherited certain MC1R genetic variants, their risk for melanoma increased 2.4-fold.

However, no elevated risk was associated with these same MC1R variants in those with blond or red hair.

MC1R was also found to be associated with increased risk among those with dark eye colour (3.2-fold increase), who did not freckle (8-fold increase), who tanned after repeated sun exposure (2.4 fold increase) or who tanned immediately without burning (9.5-fold increase).

The findings have been presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's 100th Annual Meeting.