Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
Mol Carcinog. 2007 Aug;46(8):629-33.

Sunlight and skin cancer: lessons from the immune system.

Author information

  • Department of Immunology and the Center for Cancer Immunology Research, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


The ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight induces skin cancer development. Skin cancer is the most common form of human neoplasia. Estimates suggest that in excess of 1.5 million new cases of skin cancer (www.cancer.org/statistics) will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Fortunately, because of their highly visible location, skin cancers are more rapidly diagnosed and more easily treated than other types of cancer. Be that as it may, approximately 10,000 Americans a year die from skin cancer, and the cost of treating skin cancer in the United States (both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer) is estimated to be in excess of $2.9 billion a year. In addition to causing skin cancer, UV radiation is also immune suppressive. In fact, data from studies with both experimental animals and biopsy proven skin cancer patients suggest that there is an association between the immune suppressive effects of UV radiation and its carcinogenic potential. Recent studies in my laboratory have focused on understanding the initial molecular events that induce immune suppression. We made two novel observations: first UV-induced keratinocyte-derived platelet activating factor plays a role in the induction of immune suppression. Second, cis-urocanic acid, a skin-derived immunosuppressive compound mediates immune suppression by binding to serotonin receptors on target cells. Recent findings suggest that blocking the binding of these compounds to their receptors not only inhibits UV-induced immune suppression but it also interferes with skin cancer induction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (1)Free text

Figure 1
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk