Research highlight

A common susceptibility locus for several types of cancer

Nature Genetics

July 6, 2009

Genetic variants near two genes on the chromosomal locus 9p21 increase the risk for multiple types of cancer, including glioma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma, according to five independent studies published online in this week's Nature Genetics.

Studies by Richard Houlston, Margaret Wrensch and colleagues discovered new risk variants for glioma ― a type of brain cancer that typically has a poor prognosis. Including the genetic variant near the genes CDKN2A and CDKN2B on chromosome 9p21, this new research found five new loci that are associated with increased risk of glioma.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a common type of non-melanoma skin cancer. The primary environmental risk factor for BCC is sun exposure, although genetic susceptibility also plays an important role in determining risk. Simon Stacey and colleagues identify a risk variant for BCC near CDKN2A and CDKN2B as well as two new risk variants on other chromosomes.

Finally, Tim Spector, Timothy Bishop and colleagues identified a susceptibility locus for melanoma near the genes CDKN2A and CDKN2B. Similar to BCC, repeated sun exposure and familial history of the disease increase the risk of developing melanoma. These studies also report three other genetic variants that are associated with increased risk of melanoma.

doi: 10.1038/ng.407

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