A pilot study of genetic variants in dopamine regulators with indoor tanning and melanoma


  • Research performed in Albuquerque, NM, USA.

Correspondence: Kristina Flores, PhD, Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico, 1 University of New Mexico, CRF G51, MSC11-6020, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA, Tel.: (505) 272-3538, Fax: (505) 925-4459, e-mail: kflores@salud.unm.edu


Many people frequently tan indoors despite being aware of the increased risk of melanoma. Ultraviolet radiation is hypothesized to modify biological reward pathways, for example, through the dopamine neurotransmitter system, to reinforce tanning behaviour. In this pilot study, we relied on questionnaire and DNA data from a recently completed case–control study to examine 67 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and related haplotypes in five dopamine receptor and drug metabolism genes in relation to indoor tanning among controls. We also examined the association between individual SNPS and likelihood of melanoma, adjusting for or stratifying on indoor tanning status. In candidate and haplotype gene analyses, variants only in the DRD2 dopamine receptor and ANKK1 signalling genes were positively associated with indoor tanning use among controls; only associations for ANKK1 remained statistically significant (P < 0.05) after adjustment. Several SNPs in ANKK1 and DRD2 associated with indoor tanning among controls were also found to be associated with increased risk of melanoma. Upon stratifying for indoor tanning status, one ANKK1 SNP was positively associated with melanoma among non-tanners, while three DRD2 SNPS were positively associated with melanoma among tanners or non-tanners, depending on the SNP. These alleles represent important genomic regions to further explore addictive tanning behaviour.