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New Research on Genetic Changes in Melanomas and Teens' Use of Indoor Tanning Could Lead to Better Prevention and Treatment Strategies
Date:7/30/2008

CHICAGO, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, accounts for more than 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths. Despite repeated health warnings based on proven science that overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is the most preventable cause of all skin cancers, including melanoma, many Americans are not properly protecting themselves from this known carcinogen. Now, new understanding of the emerging field of genetic epidemiology of melanoma and the factors that influence teens' use of indoor tanning could shed more light on ways to protect future generations from skin cancer.

At the American Academy of Dermatology's Summer Academy Meeting 2008 in Chicago, dermatologist Martin A. Weinstock, MD, PhD, FAAD, professor of dermatology and community health at Brown University in Providence, R.I., and chief dermatologist at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence, led the presentation of key findings from research that could pave the way for future skin cancer prevention and treatment strategies.

Link Between UV Exposure and Melanoma: The Gene Factor

When it comes to melanoma, there are multiple types of melanoma that can occur throughout the body and their relationship to UV exposure is different from one type of melanoma to another. Dr. Weinstock explained that over the past few years, the fields of genomics and genetic epidemiology have been advancing tremendously. The role of genetics in the study of melanoma is an attempt to understand the connection between genetic changes in melanoma associated with different types of melanoma.

"Everyone is born with genes that are inherited from their parents," said Dr. Weinstock. "Sometimes the genes in certain skin cells become mutated, deleted or amplified over time due to UV radiation and other factors, and these genetic changes in skin cells that take place could result in melanoma."

Different types of melanoma also are characterized by different ge
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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