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Int J Cancer. 2011 Oct 1;129(7):1730-40. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25804. Epub 2011 Apr 1.

Melanocortin 1 receptor and risk of cutaneous melanoma: a meta-analysis and estimates of population burden.

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  • 1Genetics and Population Health Division, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Australia.


Polymorphisms in the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene have been associated with increased risks of melanoma, but different approaches to study design, analysis, and reporting have hindered comparisons of findings. We aimed to harmonize the published data by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of MC1R variants and thereby estimate relative risks and population attributable fractions (PAFs). We identified 20 analytic studies reporting on 25 populations, which presented quantitative data on melanoma risks associated with any of nine MC1R variants. We separately pooled estimates of risk per person and risk per chromosome using a random effects model. Red hair color (RHC) variants had the highest risk of melanoma [summary odds ratios (OR) 2.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.72-3.45, PAF 16.8% CI 0.119-0.202], but non-RHC variants were also associated with increased risk (summary OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.10-1.51, PAF 7.4% CI 0.030-0.112). The summary risk of melanoma associated with individual variants ranged from OR 2.40 for R142H to 1.18 for V60L, although significant heterogeneity was evident for most variants. PAFs ranged from 0.55% for I155T to 6.28% for R151C. Our findings suggest the nine most common MC1R variants make a sizeable contribution to the burden of melanoma. Melanoma research would be greatly assisted by standardized classifications for MC1R variants and consistent reporting conventions. More compatible and comparable research would allow for more powerful data that could be clinically applied to predict melanoma risk.

Copyright © 2010 UICC.

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