Genetic variants for red hair raise melanoma risk even without sun

Only recently, a scientific article published in Journal of American Medical Association Dermatology (lead by Prof. Okamoto) showed that genetic variants for red hair can increase risk of skin cancer (in this case melanoma) even without sun exposure. Genetic variants are inborn and common changes of the genome that are not directly linked to a disease. However, genetic variants are capable of increasing risk as so called endogenous risk factors. In this study, the variants cause the production of the less protective pheomelanin and are associated with red hair and more sun sensitive skin to the sun.

This work was also commented by Dr.s Roider and Fisher from Harvard University.

Caution: Sun exposure still remains the most important external risk factor for skin cancer. But melanomas also occur on sites unrelated to the sun! Only regular checks can avoid progression of skin cancer.

Contact Prof. Dr. Okamoto

For appointments, please contact us by phone +43 1 40114/5701, 5702 or 5703, or via E-Mail at or contact form.

Contact inquiry

  • (Number on your ECARD. In case you do not have one, please enter your birthdate, e.g. 21.02.1964 - The social security number is not used for billing. It is used for identification in case of an appointment. )
  • (i.e. WGKK, SVA, BVA, KFA - In case you are not insured by the Austrian "Krankenkasse", please enter the name of your insurance. You also have the choice to enter „none“)
  • Please note that we can only answer inquiries with correctly completed mandatory fields.

    I hereby accept to be contacted by phone and email by the private practice Dr. Okamoto and that my data is stored. The Privacy Policy applies.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.