GEM is a population-based international consortium studying risk for melanoma development and progression. This means that the subjects from GEM are representative of the population from which they come. The GEM populations currently consist of approximately 3700 individuals from the United States (California, New Jersey, North Carolina), Canada (British Columbia and Ontario), Italy (Turin), and Australia (New South Wales and Tasmania).
We have been studying the role of solar exposure in conjunction with genetic factors to see how these work together to lead to the development and progression of melanoma. Specific genetic factors evaluated to date include CDKN2A (the "familial" melanoma gene), MC1R (a gene important to pigmentation or skin color), VDR (the vitamin D receptor gene which is important to the processing of UV light and serum vitamin D), and a number of DNA repair genes. Published papers are available by the links above.
Our present work is evaluating the role of sunlight and these genetic factors in melanoma survival among these individuals who live at different latitudes.