Novel pleiotropic risk loci for melanoma and nevus density implicate multiple biological pathways

Melanoma GWAS Consortium

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    The total number of acquired melanocytic nevi on the skin is strongly correlated with melanoma risk. Here we report a meta-analysis of 11 nevus GWAS from Australia, Netherlands, UK, and USA comprising 52,506 individuals. We confirm known loci including MTAP, PLA2G6, and IRF4, and detect novel SNPs in KITLG and a region of 9q32. In a bivariate analysis combining the nevus results with a recent melanoma GWAS meta-analysis (12,874 cases, 23,203 controls), SNPs near GPRC5A, CYP1B1, PPARGC1B, HDAC4, FAM208B, DOCK8, and SYNE2 reached global significance, and other loci, including MIR146A and OBFC1, reached a suggestive level. Overall, we conclude that most nevus genes affect melanoma risk (KITLG an exception), while many melanoma risk loci do not alter nevus count. For example, variants in TERC and OBFC1 affect both traits, but other telomere length maintenance genes seem to affect melanoma risk only. Our findings implicate multiple pathways in nevogenesis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number4774
    JournalNature Communications
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

    Bibliographical note

    CC-BY This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


    • pleiotropic risk
    • melanocytic nevus
    • Meta-analysis
    • melanoma risk
    • nevogenesis pathways
    • gene variation


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