A randomized clinical trial of precision prevention materials incorporating MC1R genetic risk to improve skin cancer prevention activities among Hispanics

Cancer Res Commun. 2022 Jan;2(1):28-38. doi: 10.1158/2767-9764.crc-21-0114. Epub 2022 Jan 11.


Purpose: Skin cancer incidence is increasing among Hispanics, who experience worse outcomes than non-Hispanic Whites. Precision prevention incorporating genetic testing for MC1R, a skin cancer susceptibility marker, may improve prevention behavior.

Patients and methods: Hispanic participants (n=920) from Tampa, FL and Ponce, PR, were block-randomized within MC1R higher- and average-risk groups to precision prevention or generic prevention arms. We collected baseline information on demographics, family history of cancer, phenotypic characteristics, health literacy, health numeracy, and psychosocial measures. Participants reported weekday and weekend sun exposure (in hours), number of sunburns, frequency of five sun protection behaviors, intentional outdoor and indoor tanning, and skin examinations at baseline, three months, and nine months. Participants also reported these outcomes for their eldest child ≤10 years old.

Results: Among MC1R higher-risk participants, precision prevention increased sunscreen use (OR=1.74, p=0.03) and receipt of a clinical skin exam (OR=6.51, p=0.0006); and it decreased weekday sun exposure hours (β=-0.94, p=0.005) and improved sun protection behaviors (β=0.93, p=0.02) in their children. There were no significant intervention effects among MC1R average risk participants. The intervention did not elevate participant cancer worry. We also identified moderators of the intervention effect among both average- and higher-risk participants.

Conclusions: Receipt of MC1R precision prevention materials improved some skin cancer prevention behaviors among higher-risk participants and their children and did not result in reduced prevention activities among average-risk participants. Despite these encouraging findings, levels of sun protection behaviors remained suboptimal among participants, warranting more awareness and prevention campaigns targeted to Hispanics.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03509467.

Keywords: Hispanics; MC1R; Precision prevention; randomized clinical trial; skin cancer.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Sunburn* / prevention & control
  • Sunscreening Agents / therapeutic use


  • Sunscreening Agents

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03509467