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Skin cancer

Overexpression of splicing protein in skin repair causes early changes seen in skin cancer

Cancer • • Skin cancerJan 20 14

Overexpression of splicing protein in skin repair causes early changes seen in skin cancer

Normally, tissue injury triggers a mechanism in cells that tries to repair damaged tissue and restore the skin to a normal, or homeostatic state. Errors in this process can give rise to various problems, such as chronic inflammation, which is a known cause of certain cancers.

“It has been noted that cancer resembles a state of chronic wound healing, in which the wound-healing program is erroneously activated and perpetuated,” says Professor Adrian Krainer of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). In a paper published today in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, a team led by Dr. Krainer reports that a protein they show is normally involved in healing wounds and maintaining homeostasis in skin tissue is also, under certain conditions, a promoter of invasive and metastatic skin cancers.

The protein, called SRSF6, is what biologists call a splicing factor: it is one of many proteins involved in an essential cellular process called splicing. In splicing, an RNA “message” copied from a gene is edited so that it includes only the portions needed to instruct the cell how to produce a specific protein. The messages of most genes can be edited in multiple ways, using different splicing factors; thus, a single gene can give rise to multiple proteins, with distinct functions.

The SRSF6 protein, while normally contributing to wound healing in skin tissue, when overproduced can promote abnormal growth of skin cells and cancer, Krainer’s team demonstrated in experiments in mice. Indeed, they determined the spot on a particular RNA message - one that encodes the protein tenascin C - where SRSF6 binds abnormally, giving rise to alternate versions of the tenascin C protein that are seen in invasive and metastatic cancers.

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Topical treatment may prevent melanoma

Cancer • • Skin cancerApr 26 11

While incidents of melanoma continue to increase despite the use of sunscreen and skin screenings, a topical compound called ISC-4 may prevent melanoma lesion formation, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

“The steady increase in melanoma incidence suggests that additional preventive approaches are needed to complement these existing strategies,” said Gavin Robertson, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology, pathology, dermatology and surgery, and director of Penn State Hershey Melanoma Center.

Researchers targeted the protein Akt3, which plays a central role in 70 percent of melanoma by preventing cell death and has the potential to prevent early stages of melanoma.

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Addiction to sunbeds gave me skin cancer… and left me with a gaping hole in my leg

Cancer • • Skin cancerApr 21 11

A woman who admits her sunbed addiction left her looking like an ‘Oompa Loompa’ was left with a gaping hole in her leg after a battle with skin cancer.

Doctors were forced to gouge away part of Stacey Pickess’s leg when her twice-weekly sunbed habit left her with a malignant melanoma.

The 28-year-old beautician managed to beat the cancer - but has been left with a hole the size of a golf ball in her lower leg as a constant reminder.

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Blood Test Could Predict Metastasis Risk in Melanoma

Cancer • • Skin cancerApr 19 11

Scientists at Yale University have identified a set of plasma biomarkers that could reasonably predict the risk of metastasis among patients with melanoma, according to findings published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“The rate at which melanoma is increasing is dramatic, and there is a huge number of patients under surveillance,” said Harriet Kluger, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. “Our current method of surveillance includes periodic imaging, which creates huge societal costs.”

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in men and the seventh most common cancer in women. It is estimated that 68,130 people in the United States were diagnosed in 2010, and 8,700 died. With proper screening, melanoma can often be caught early enough to be removed with surgery, and mortality typically comes when the cancer metastasizes. The risk of metastasis varies from less than 10 percent for those with stage 1A melanoma, to as high as 70 percent with stage 3C.

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Fla. med student study reveals disparity of skin cancer knowledge—Ben-Gurion U. study

Cancer • • Skin cancerSep 14 10

There is a significant disparity between knowledge and attitudes on the dangers of skin cancer among male and female medical students in Florida according to a new study by a joint team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The study was published in the American Medical Association’s Archives of Dermatology.

While their overall knowledge was judged to be satisfactory there was a significant difference between male and female students’ knowledge survey scores: 93.1 percent for women vs. 87.7 percent for men. Female students reported more frequent sunscreen use and sun-avoidance behavior and more frequently engaged in other sun-protective behaviors than their male peers.

Overall, men had a lower knowledge level, less appreciation for the importance of sun protection and were less likely to use active sun-protective measures. It is known that men are at higher risk for melanoma than woman (1:41 compared to 1:61). Gender differences in knowledge and behavior possibly contribute to the higher melanoma incidence and mortality among men over women.

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A new measure for the malignancy of melanoma

Cancer • • Skin cancerMar 12 09

Every tumor, starting from a size of a few millimeters, depends on a supply of nutrients and oxygen. Therefore, using special growth factors, it induces vascular wall cells of neighboring blood vessels to sprout new capillaries in order to get connected to the blood circulation.

This process called angiogenesis involves a number of different growth factors and their respective receptors on the vascular wall cells. The departments of Prof. Dr. Hellmut Augustin and Prof. Dirk Schadendorf of DKFZ and Mannheim Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg have investigated the role of a growth factor called angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) in malignant melanoma. The docking station of Ang2 is the receptor Tie2 on the surface of endothelial cells, which form the inner lining of blood vessels. Together with other signaling molecules, Ang2 induces sprouting of endothelial cells and the formation of new capillaries.

When measuring the Ang2 concentrations in blood samples of melanoma patients, the investigators discovered that larger tumors and more advanced disease stages correlate with high levels of Ang2. If one tracks the Ang2 levels of individual patients over time, a rise parallel to disease progression can be observed. In contrast, patients who have lived with the disease for a long time, i.e., whose disease is not or only slightly progressive, have lower Ang2 levels. The scientists found out that Ang2 concentration in blood serum is a more precise indicator of the progression and stage of the disease than previously used biomarkers.

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New Research Finds Six Factors Predictive of Melanoma Risk

Cancer • • Skin cancerMar 06 09

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is a health risk that accounts for more than 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Looking at this sobering statistic another way, it is estimated that one American dies from melanoma almost every hour (every 62 minutes). While those at higher risk of developing melanoma typically have included fair-skinned individuals who sunburn but don’t tan easily and have a history of sunburns, new research has identified other factors that could increase a person’s risk of melanoma.

Speaking today at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), dermatologist Darrell S. Rigel, MD, FAAD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center (NYU) in New York, presented new research which identifies six factors that independently predicted melanoma risk in 600 people.

“Since we haven’t identified the gene responsible for melanoma yet, we can’t screen people with this gene who we know would be at risk for melanoma,” said Dr. Rigel. “Similar to how those with the known BRCA2 gene are carefully screened for breast cancer, we hope to one day be able to screen people that carry the melanoma gene. Until then, we have to rely on indirect measures or risk factors that we know are common to people who develop melanoma to try to educate those individuals to get regular skin exams by their dermatologist.”

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Chronic inflammation can help nurture skin cancer, study shows

Cancer • • Skin cancerOct 21 08

Inflammation, a frontline defense against infection or disease, can help nurture skin cancer, researchers have found.

IDO, an enzyme that works like a firefighter to keep inflammation under control, can be commandeered to protect early malignant cells, say Medical College of Georgia researchers studying an animal model of chronic inflammation and skin cancer.

“Inflammation should really help prevent a tumor,” says Dr. Andrew Mellor, director of the MCG Immunotherapy Center and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Molecular Immunogenetics. In fact, there is strong evidence that inflammation triggers the immune response. “You want a good immune response; this is what protects you from pathogens,” he says. “In this case, it’s an unfortunate exploitation by malignant cells.”

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History of nonmelanoma skin cancer is associated with increased risk for subsequent malignancies

Cancer • • Skin cancerAug 27 08

Individuals with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) are at increased risk for other cancers, according to a study published in the August 26 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Previous studies have documented that people who have had nonmelanoma skin cancer were at increased risk for developing melanoma, but it is less well-established whether they were also at risk for cancers that do not involve the skin.

In the current study, Anthony Alberg, Ph.D., of the Medical University of South Carolina and colleagues analyzed data from a prospective cohort study called CLUE II, which was established in Washington County, Md., in 1989. Alberg’s team compared the risk of malignancies in 769 individuals who had been diagnosed with nonmelanoma skin cancer and 18,405 individuals with no history of the disease during a 16-year follow-up period.

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Experimental drug shrinks advanced skin cancer

Cancer • • Skin cancerApr 16 08

An experimental drug designed to block a specific cell-signaling pathway has been shown in a small trial to shrink tumors in patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma, researchers said on Monday.

Basal cell carcinoma, a type of non-melanoma skin cancer, is the most common form of cancer, with about a million new cases estimated in the United States each year.

Most cases are easy to treat when detected early, but in rare instances the cancer is resistant to treatment, causing damage to skin and sometimes invading bone and cartilage.

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Older Australians at risk of sun-related skin cancer death

Cancer • • Skin cancerApr 14 08

A new Western Australian study has revealed the mortality from non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), commonly considered less dangerous than melanoma, is affecting older Australians at a worrying rate.

Researchers at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) found West Australians above the age of 69, especially men, accounted for 70 percent of deaths from non-melanoma skin cancer in WA, and most primary cancers occured in areas of high sun exposure.

The study has prompted health experts to urge older people to stay vigilant about sun protection and get regular skin checks.

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