Sun Exposure & Melanoma Survival

The strongest known predictor of survival after melanoma skin cancer is the thickness of the melanoma at diagnosis but environmental and genetic factors may also play a role. It has been suggested that melanoma in locations with high ambient sun might be biologically "more benign." This study aims to examine the role of sun exposure and genetic variations in the vitamin D receptor in melanoma survival. The study, led by Prof Marianne Berwick from the University of New Mexico, is based on the Genes, Environment and Melanoma (GEM) study which began in 2000. GEM covers nine international locations in four countries (Canada, USA, Italy and Australia); the Australian sites are Tasmania and New South Wales. In 2000-2003, patients with melanoma were recruited into the GEM study. These included 144 Tasmanians recruited through the Tasmanian Cancer Registry and 1282 patients in NSW. Participants were interviewed about their lifetime sun exposure history, tested for genes potentially associated with the development of melanoma, and had DNA banked. By collecting data on survival in GEM participants, the study will be able to improve understanding of the potential contribution of sun exposure and vitamin D receptor polymorphisms.

This project is a participant based study

Research Groups


Team Leaders

External Collaborators

  • Professor Terry Dwyer - Murdoch Childrens Research Institute