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Open AccessReview

Iris Colour and the Risk of Developing Uveal Melanoma

Department of Ophthalmology, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2333 ZA Leiden, The Netherlands
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These Authors contributed equally.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197172
Received: 25 August 2020 / Revised: 15 September 2020 / Accepted: 24 September 2020 / Published: 28 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Basis and Molecular Mechanisms of Uveal Melanomas)
Uveal melanoma (UM) is a global disease which especially occurs in elderly people. Its incidence varies widely between populations, with the highest incidence among Caucasians, and a South-to-North increase in Europe. As northern Europeans often have blond hair and light eyes, we wondered whether iris colour may be a predisposing factor for UM and if so, why. We compared the distribution of iris colour between Dutch UM patients and healthy Dutch controls, using data from the Rotterdam Study (RS), and reviewed the literature regarding iris colour. We describe molecular mechanisms that might explain the observed associations. When comparing a group of Dutch UM patients with controls, we observed that individuals from Caucasian ancestry with a green/hazel iris colour (Odds Ratio (OR) = 3.64, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 2.57–5.14) and individuals with a blue/grey iris colour (OR = 1.38, 95% CI 1.04–1.82) had a significantly higher crude risk of UM than those with brown eyes. According to the literature, this may be due to a difference in the function of pheomelanin (associated with a light iris colour) and eumelanin (associated with a brown iris colour). The combination of light-induced stress and aging may affect pheomelanin-carrying melanocytes in a different way than eumelanin-carrying melanocytes, increasing the risk of developing a malignancy. View Full-Text
Keywords: eye diseases; oncology; uveal melanoma; iris colour; epidemiology; melanin eye diseases; oncology; uveal melanoma; iris colour; epidemiology; melanin
MDPI and ACS Style

Houtzagers, L.E.; Wierenga, A.P.A.; Ruys, A.A.M.; Luyten, G.P.M.; Jager, M.J. Iris Colour and the Risk of Developing Uveal Melanoma. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 7172. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197172

AMA Style

Houtzagers LE, Wierenga APA, Ruys AAM, Luyten GPM, Jager MJ. Iris Colour and the Risk of Developing Uveal Melanoma. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020; 21(19):7172. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197172

Chicago/Turabian Style

Houtzagers, Laurien E.; Wierenga, Annemijn P.A.; Ruys, Aleid A.M.; Luyten, Gregorius P.M.; Jager, Martine J. 2020. "Iris Colour and the Risk of Developing Uveal Melanoma" Int. J. Mol. Sci. 21, no. 19: 7172. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197172

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