Germline MC1R status influences somatic mutation burden in melanoma.


The major genetic determinants of cutaneous melanoma risk in the general population are disruptive variants (R alleles) in the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene. These alleles are also linked to red hair, freckling, and sun sensitivity, all of which are known melanoma phenotypic risk factors. Here we report that in melanomas and for somatic CtextgreaterT mutations, a signature linked to sun exposure, the expected single-nucleotide variant count associated with the presence of an R allele is estimated to be 42% (95% CI, 15-76%) higher than that among persons without an R allele. This figure is comparable to the expected mutational burden associated with an additional 21 years of age. We also find significant and similar enrichment of non-CtextgreaterT mutation classes supporting a role for additional mutagenic processes in melanoma development in individuals carrying R alleles.

Nature communications