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Gene-UV interactions in clinical presentation of melanoma

Project Description

Melanoma is a heterogeneous disease with a wide variety of clinical presentations, including superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, lentigo maligna melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma, and ocular melanoma, among others. About 6.5% of new melanomas appear in the third decade of life, with numbers of new cases peaking after 50 years of age. Similarly, melanoma may appear in any location on the skin’s surface, in chronically sun exposed sites, and in sites that see very little sun. While the majority of melanomas are detected as early stage disease, almost 10,000 people die from metastatic disease every year in the USA. At present there is very little understanding of the factors that may contribute to regulate the clinical presentation of melanoma. Melanoma is known to result from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light that induces mutations in key oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Genetic risk factors also play a role in predisposing individuals to melanoma. At present there are many genetic loci that have been implicated in melanoma risk.  We hypothesize that UV exposure history interacts with inherited genetic risk factors and with the somatic mutations within each cancer to impact the clinical presentation of melanoma.  This student project will set up the methods to collect clinical data on melanoma patients, together with samples for genetic analysis and a UV camera assessment of skin sun damage will be performed. A subset of the collected data will be analyzed to determine the interaction between sun damage, melanoma risk genotype and age of onset of melanoma.

Area of Study

Hematology and Oncology




Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, and Genetics; Chart Review

Disease or Symptom




Mentor Location

Department of Dermatology/Stem Cell Biology RC1-N, P18-8132 12800 E. 19th Avenue Aurora, CO, 80045

Mentor Contact Number


Mentor Email


Mentor Name

Box, Neil

Funding Department/Program

Cancer Center



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Created at 8/20/2015 10:14 AM by Miller, Michael
Last modified at 8/14/2019 2:01 PM by Zoghby, Caitlin