Skin Cancer Case Study
Genetic changes in the MC1R gene increase the risk of developing skin cancer including melanoma which begins in the melanocytes. Alterations in the MC1R gene disrupt the ability of the melancortin1 receptor to trigger eumelanin production in melanocytes. Eumelanin normally protects skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation; a lack of this pigment leaves fair skin more vulnerable to damage from sun exposure. Skin damage caused by UV radiation from the sun is a major risk factor for developing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.
The MC1R gene provides instructions for making a protein called the melancortin1 receptor. It plays an important role in normal pigmentation. The receptor is primarily located on the surface of melanocytes, which are specialized cells that produce melanin.
MC1R is one of the major genes that determine skin pigmentation and it has been reported to be associated with risk of melanoma possibly through the determination of the tanning response of skin to UV radiation. However the relationship between some MC1R variants and melanoma also in darkly-pigmented European populations suggests that MC1R signaling may have an additional role in skin carcinogenesis beyond the UV filtering differences between dark and fair skin.
Every time you go out into the sunlight you put your DNA at risk, the UV light from the sun can induce mutations in your skin cells. If one is susceptible to skin cancer it is suggested they should stay away from over exposure to UV rays. If being outdoors is an absolute necessity, a very high SPF sunscreen should be applied to the areas that are going to be exposed directly. Cancer in most cases is not preventable so if something can be done to protect you from a cancer why not do it.
Raimondi, S., Gandini, S., Fargnoli, M., Bagnardi, V., Maisonneuve, P., Specchia, C., & ... Landi, M. (2012). Melanocortin-1 receptor, skin cancer and phenotypic...