Germline variation of the melanocortin 1 receptor gene (MC1R) is a risk factor for cutaneous melanoma. Recent studies have indicated that the risk is significantly higher for melanomas with somatic BRAF mutations, suggesting that MC1R variants may have a more specific role than their demonstrated effects on skin and hair pigmentation. To address the possibility that MC1R may act like a tumor suppressor gene by creating a permissive condition for melanocytes with specific somatic mutations to proliferate or survive, we analyzed 103 primary melanomas for somatic MC1R mutations and copy number alterations. This cohort included melanomas from skin with and without chronic sun-induced damage, mucosal membranes, and acral skin (palms, soles, and subungual). We did not find somatic mutations or frequent DNA copy number alterations at the MC1R locus, nor any skewed pattern of copy number alterations that would favor one allele type over the other. In conclusion, our findings indicate that MC1R is not a frequent target of somatic alterations in melanoma. © 2008 The Authors.
- Melanocortin 1 receptor gene
- Somatic mutations