The American Cancer Society’s (2012) most recent statistics for non-melanoma skin cancer estimates 3.5 million cases. Gene changes may make an individual more susceptible to isolated non-melanoma skin cancer [which includes basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)]. One of those genes is the vitamin D receptor (VDR). Polymorphisms in the VDR genes are thought to contribute to the level of protection an individual may have against certain types of skin cancer (Denzer, Vogt, & Reichrath, 2011). Few studies have been published about VDR gene polymorphisms and the associated risk for BCCs and/or SCCs (Han, Colditz, & Hunter, 2007; Kostner et al, 2012; Lesiak et al, 2011). The purpose of this study was to discover whether certain VDR gene polymorphisms, Apa1, Bsm1, Taq1, and Fok1, are associated with an increased risk of BCCs and/or SCCs in an Alabama population. Forty-one participants were recruited at the UAB Dermatology Clinics, filled out a questionnaire, and submitted a blood sample. The genotyping results, cancer diagnosis, and demographics were analyzed to detect relationships. The results demonstrated that there was not a statistically increased risk for SCCs or BCCs based on the type of VDR genotype for Taq1. Of note, even with such initial small numbers for our study, our numbers did approach significance (p=0.0671). In comparing our first genotypic results to the literature, the Taq1 results were inconsistent. Two previous studies, Lesiak et al. (2011) and Kostner et al. (2012), revealed an increased risk for BCC for those with certain Taq1 genotypes. While our study did not, there was a trend toward significance. Our finding with this first genotype is encouraging and prompted us to extend enrollment. If we group the non-melanoma skin cancers together (BCC and SCC), the difference of genotype compared to controls is significantly different (p=0.0257). From this study, further analysis and research was supported at UAB. Also of note, a statistically significant finding for one of the confounding demographic factors we included showed that the use of sunscreen among the participants with SCCs was related to their genotype. For those with SCCs, those that “always” wore sunscreen were most likely to be those with the CC Taq1 genotype. With this exception, there were no other relationships found among cancer diagnosis, genotypes for Taq1, and demographic factors.
The UAB genetic counselling program is designed to lead to professional certification through the American Board of Genetic Counseling, Inc (ABGC). While there is a national certification exam offered by ABGC, board certification does not confer state licensure. Specific licensure requirements vary from state to state. UAB is working to develop an online, publicly-accessible database to assist in providing this state-by-state information. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning about potential professional licensure requirements in your state for a specific degree program, please contact UAB State Authorization at, or call eLearning and Professional Learning S staff at (205) 934-3258.