POMC and TP53 genetic variability and risk of basal cell carcinoma of skin: Interaction between host and genetic factors

Cosmeri Rizzato, Dominique Scherer, Peter Rudnai, Eugen Gurzau, Kvetoslava Koppova, Kari Hemminki, Federico Canzian, Rajiv Kumar, Daniele Campa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (SciVal)


Background: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) of the skin is the most common neoplasm among the Caucasian population of the western world. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation-induced p53 activation promotes cutaneous pigmentation by increasing transcriptional activity of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) in the skin. Induction of POMC/alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) activates the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), resulting in skin pigmentation. The tumor suppressor p53 is a key player in stress responses that preserve genomic stability, responding to a variety of insults including DNA damage, hypoxia, metabolic stress and oncogene activation. Malfunction of the p53 pathway is an almost universal hallmark of human tumors. Polymorphisms in the gene encoding p53 (TP53) alter its transcriptional activity, which in turn may influence the UV radiation-induced tanning response. Objective: The aim of the present work is to test association between POMC and TP53 genetic variability, the possible interplay with host factors and the risk of basal cell carcinoma of skin. Methods: We covered the variability of the two genes we used 17 tagging polymorphisms in 529 BCC cases and 532 healthy controls. We have also tested the possible interactions between the genetic variants and three known risk factors for BCC: skin complexion, sun effect and skin response to sun exposure. Results: We did not observe any statistically significant association between SNPs in these two genes and BCC risk overall, nor interactions of SNPs with known BCC risk factors. However we found that, in the group of subjects with lower sun exposure, carriers of one copy of the C allele of the TP53 SNP rs12951053 had a decreased risk of BCC (OR = 0.28, 95% CI 0.12-0.62, P = 0.002). Conclusions: We have observed that the interplay of an environmental risk factor and one polymorphism in TP53 gene could modulate the risk of BCC. (C) 2011 Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-54
JournalJournal of Dermatological Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • Basal cell carcinoma of the skin
  • p53
  • POMC
  • Single nucleotide
  • polymorphism


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