Melanoma gene discovery may lead to new drug treatments

The discovery by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Yale University could lead to new drugs to target the mutation found in about 9% of melanoma patients.

The finding emerged from the largest melanoma gene study to date, which involved the examination of every gene in 147 skin cancers.

Professor Nick Hayward from the QIMR's Oncogenomics Laboratory said scientists also showed the mutation promoted malignant cell growth, spreading the cancer beyond the skin to critical organs.

Most importantly, the mutation was caused by exposure to sunlight.

"This mutation was exclusively found in melanomas