Background: The PTCH tumour suppressor gene is involved in the development of nearly all basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) of the skin and a fraction of squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). A nonconservative Pro/Leu nucleotide polymorphism within PTCH exon 23 at codon 1315 was recently reported to be potentially important for the development of breast epithelial cell cancers. Objectives: Accordingly, the status of PTCH codon 1315 was analysed for a possible association with the development of nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) in a pilot study. Because skin cancer risk is affected by specific population-dependent phenotypes such as skin and hair colour, codon 1315 was also analysed for normal allele frequency variation in human populations having differing extents of eumelanin vs. phaeomelanin. Methods: The single nucleotide polymorphism in codon 1315 of the human PTCH gene was analysed in genomic DNA from six different populations comprising 472 blood samples and from 170 patients in four different categories with NMSC. Polymerase chain reaction and pyrosequencing were used to determine the allele frequencies. Allelic loss was furthermore determined in tumours following microdissection. Results: The Pro/Pro genotype frequency ranged from 30% to 65% between populations, with a significant trend for a reduced frequency of the Pro/Pro genotype in populations having lighter pigmentation (P = 0.020). Pro/Pro frequency showed an increasing trend with increasing tumour case severity (P = 0.027). In 260 samples from 180 Swedish patients with NMSC and a control group of 96 healthy ethnically matched volunteers, no statistically significant pairwise differences between groups were detected in the PTCH codon 1315 allelic distribution, neither was a difference seen for multiple or early onset cases of BCC in the Swedish population. In Swedish patients with single tumours, allelic loss (loss of heterozygosity) was observed in 20 of 30 (67%) patients with BCC and four of 22 (18%) patients with SCC, with no preference in the allele lost. In contrast, the Pro/Pro genotype was frequent in seven U.S. patients having multiple independent BCCs. One of these patients was heterozygous, enabling allelic loss studies. Of 20 independent tumours, 11 had lost an allele; 10 of the 11 had lost Leu, suggesting nonrandom loss that favoured retention of Pro (P = 0.0059). Conclusions: Our results indicate an association between the eumelanin-to-phaeomelanin shift and a shift from the Pro/Pro genotype to Leu-containing genotypes. Failure to lose Pro during the shift to phaeomelanin may be associated with an increased population risk for BCC and increased individual risk for multiple BCC. During development of a tumour, the effect of Pro may be magnified by loss of the Leu allele.
- Loss of heterozygozity
- Nonmelanoma skin cancer
- Single nucleotide polymorphism
ASJC Scopus subject areas