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Cancer Res. 2004 May 1;64(9):3009-13.

Polymorphisms in DNA double-strand break repair genes and skin cancer risk.

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  • 1Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


UV can cause a wide range of DNA lesions. UVA-induced oxidative DNA damage and blocked DNA replication by UVB-induced photoproducts can lead to double-strand breaks (DSBs). We selected 11 haplotype-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms in three DSB repair genes XRCC2, XRCC3, and LigaseIV and evaluated their associations with skin cancer risk in a nested case-control study within the Nurses' Health Study [219 melanoma, 286 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), 300 basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and 873 controls]. We observed that the XRCC3 18085T (241Met) allele and its associated haplotype were significantly inversely associated with the risks of SCC and BCC, whereas the XRCC3 4552C allele along with its associated haplotype and the XRCC2 30833A allele were significantly associated with increased BCC risk. The LigaseIV 4044T and 4062T alleles were associated with decreased BCC risk; two of four haplotypes were significantly associated with altered BCC risk. A trend toward decreased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer was found in those harboring a greater number of putative low risk alleles (P for trend, 0.05 for SCC, <0.0001 for BCC). The main effects of these genotypes were essentially null for melanoma risk. This study provides evidence to suggest the role of the DSB repair pathway in skin cancer development, especially for BCC.

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