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The Queensland Study of Melanoma: Environmental and Genetic Associations (Q-MEGA); Study Design, Baseline Characteristics, and Repeatability of Phenotype and Sun Exposure Measures

  • Amanda J. Baxter (a1), Maria Celia Hughes (a2), Marina Kvaskoff (a3), Victor Siskind (a4), Sri Shekar (a5), Joanne F. Aitken (a6), Adele C. Green (a7), David L. Duffy (a8), Nicholas K. Hayward (a9), Nicholas G. Martin (a10) and David C. Whiteman (a11)...

Abstract

Cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) is a major health issue in Queensland, Australia, which has the world's highest incidence. Recent molecular and epidemiologic studies suggest that CMM arises through multiple etiological pathways involving gene–environment interactions. Understanding the potential mechanisms leading to CMM requires larger studies than those previously conducted. This article describes the design and baseline characteristics of Q-MEGA, the Queensland Study of Melanoma: Environmental and Genetic Associations, which followed up 4 population-based samples of CMM patients in Queensland, including children, adolescents, men aged over 50, and a large sample of adult cases and their families, including twins. Q-MEGA aims to investigate the roles of genetic and environmental factors, and their interaction, in the etiology of melanoma. Three thousand, four hundred and seventy-one participants took part in the follow-up study and were administered a computer-assisted telephone interview in 2002–2005. Updated data on environmental and phenotypic risk factors, and 2777 blood samples were collected from interviewed participants as well as a subset of relatives. This study provides a large and well-described population-based sample of CMM cases with follow-up data. Characteristics of the cases and repeatability of sun exposure and phenotype measures between the baseline and the follow-up surveys, from 6 to 17 years later, are also described.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

1Address for correspondence: Dr David Whiteman, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Cancer and Population Studies Group, CBCRC/B Floor, PO Royal Brisbane Hospital, Queensland 4029, Australia.

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