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Novel pleiotropic risk loci for melanoma and nevus density implicate multiple biological pathways

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • David L. Duffy
  • Gu Zhu
  • Xin Li
  • Marianna Sanna
  • Mark M. Iles
  • Leonie C. Jacobs
  • David M. Evans
  • Seyhan Yazar
  • Jonathan Beesley
  • Matthew H. Law
  • Peter Kraft
  • Alessia Visconti
  • John C. Taylor
  • Fan Lui
  • Margaret J. Wright
  • Anjali K. Henders
  • Lisa Bowdler
  • Dan Glass
  • Arfan M. Ikram
  • André G. Uitterlinden
  • Pamela A. Madden
  • Andrew C. Heath
  • Elliot C. Nelson
  • Adele C. Green
  • Stephen Chanock
  • Jennifer H. Barrett
  • Matthew A. Brown
  • Nicholas K. Hayward
  • Stuart MacGregor
  • Richard A. Sturm
  • Alex W. Hewitt
  • Melanoma GWAS Consortium
  • Jeffrey E. Lee
  • Myriam Brossard
  • Eric K. Moses
  • Fengju Song
  • Rajiv Kumar
  • Douglas F. Easton
  • Paul D.P. Pharoah
  • Anthony J. Swerdlow
  • Katerina P. Kypreou
  • Mark Harland
  • Juliette Randerson-Moor
  • Lars A. Akslen
  • Per A. Andresen
  • Marie Françoise Avril
  • Esther Azizi
  • Giovanna Bianchi Scarrà
  • Kevin M. Brown
  • Tadeusz Dębniak
  • George Davey Smith
Original languageEnglish
Article number4774
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
DateAccepted/In press - 13 Sep 2018
DatePublished (current) - 14 Nov 2018


The total number of acquired melanocytic nevi on the skin is strongly correlated with melanoma risk. Here we report a meta-analysis of 11 nevus GWAS from Australia, Netherlands, UK, and USA comprising 52,506 individuals. We confirm known loci including MTAP, PLA2G6, and IRF4, and detect novel SNPs in KITLG and a region of 9q32. In a bivariate analysis combining the nevus results with a recent melanoma GWAS meta-analysis (12,874 cases, 23,203 controls), SNPs near GPRC5A, CYP1B1, PPARGC1B, HDAC4, FAM208B, DOCK8, and SYNE2 reached global significance, and other loci, including MIR146A and OBFC1, reached a suggestive level. Overall, we conclude that most nevus genes affect melanoma risk (KITLG an exception), while many melanoma risk loci do not alter nevus count. For example, variants in TERC and OBFC1 affect both traits, but other telomere length maintenance genes seem to affect melanoma risk only. Our findings implicate multiple pathways in nevogenesis.

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