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deCODE Discovery Sheds Light on Risk of the Most Common Form of Skin Cancer
Date:10/13/2008

Latest discoveries add to understanding of individual risk of basal cell carcinoma, and are integrated into the deCODEme(TM) personal genome analysis scan

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Scientists at deCODE genetics (Nasdaq: DCGN) today report the discovery of common versions of two single-letter variations in the human genome (SNPs) that confer risk of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common cancer among people of European ancestry. Unlike the four sets of SNPs previously found by deCODE to confer risk of BCC and cutaneous melanoma, those reported today are not linked to fair pigmentation traits that also make certain people prone to freckling and sunburn. These SNPs, both located on chromosome 1, may therefore provide new insight into an underlying biological mechanism causing BCC, independent of the impact of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight. Approximately 2% of people of European descent carry two copies of the risk versions of both SNPs, and are at a 170% greater risk of BCC than those who do not carry the risk variants. The paper, entitled 'Common variants on 1p36 and 1q42 are associated with cutaneous basal cell carcinoma but not with melanoma or pigrmentation traits,' appears today in the online edition of Nature Genetics at http://www.nature.com/ng.

"With this discovery we continue to build our portfolio of novel risk factors for common skin cancers, diseases that cause significant morbidity and that are on the rise in the industrialized world. Once again we have used our capabilities in human genetics to gain a new understanding of the root causes of a major disease, that appear to act independently of known environmen
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