Cytochrome P450 CYP2D6 genotypes: association with hair colour, Breslow thickness and melanocyte stimulating hormone receptor alleles in patients with malignant melanoma

Pharmacogenetics. 1999 Jun;9(3):269-76.


We previously identified associations between polymorphism in the cytochrome P450 CYP2D6 gene and outcome in several cancers. We have now examined the hypothesis that homozygosity for the mutant alleles, CYP2D6*4 and CYP2D6*3, is associated with susceptibility and outcome in malignant melanoma. Outcome was assessed by Breslow thickness. We first confirmed previous reports that these mutant alleles are associated with increased susceptibility to malignant melanoma. For example, the frequency of homozygosity for CYP2D6*4 was significantly greater (P = 0.006, chi-squared 1 d.f. = 7.4, odds ratio 2.2, 95% confidence interval 1.2, 3.9) in cases (9.1%) than in control individuals (4.3%). The frequency of homozygosity for the mutant alleles was next examined in the malignant melanoma cases grouped on the basis of characteristics associated with malignant melanoma risk. Homozygosity was significantly more common (P = 0.038) in cases with red/blonde hair than in those with brown/black hair. We found no associations between the CYP2D6 genotype and sex, skin type or eye colour. The possible association of CYP2D6 with outcome was assessed by comparing genotype frequencies in patients with tumours of Breslow thickness < 1.5 mm with those whose tumours were > or = 1.5 mm. In patients with red/blonde, but not brown or black hair, homozygosity for CYP2D6*4 was significantly associated with thicker lesions in a multivariate model (P = 0.036). We further examined the association of CYP2D6*4 homozygosity with red/blonde hair by classifying patients on the basis of homo- or heterozygosity for wild-type or val92met, asp294his or asp84glu melanocyte stimulating hormone receptor (MC1R) alleles. None of the nine patients with brown/black hair with the asp294his allele were homozygotes for CYP2D6*4. By contrast, in the patients with red/blonde hair, three of five cases with asp294his were homozygotes for the mutant CYP2D6 allele. The difference in the frequency of CYP2D6*4 homozygotes in the red/blonde cases with wild-type MC1R alleles compared with those with asp294his was significant (exact P = 0.029). No associations between val92his or asp84glu and CYP2D6 alleles were identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Hair Color / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / enzymology
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Receptors, Pituitary Hormone / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism


  • Receptors, Pituitary Hormone
  • MSH receptor
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6