Send to

Choose Destination
Mutat Res. 2005 Apr 1;571(1-2):91-106.

Cellular and molecular events leading to the development of skin cancer.

Author information

Department of Immunology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 301402, Unit 902, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The transition from a normal cell to a neoplastic cell is a complex process and involves both genetic and epigenetic changes. The process of carcinogenesis begins when the DNA is damaged, which then leads to a cascade of events leading to the development of a tumor. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes DNA damage, inflammation, erythema, sunburn, immunosuppression, photoaging, gene mutations, and skin cancer. Upon DNA damage, the p53 tumor suppressor protein undergoes phosphorylation and translocation to the nucleus and aids in DNA repair or causes apoptosis. Excessive UV exposure overwhelms DNA repair mechanisms leading to induction of p53 mutations and loss of Fas-FasL interaction. Keratinocytes carrying p53 mutations acquire a growth advantage by virtue of their increased resistance to apoptosis. Thus, resistance to cell death is a key event in photocarcinogenesis and conversely, elimination of cells containing excessive UV-induced DNA damage is a key step in protecting against skin cancer development. Apoptosis-resistant keratinocytes undergo clonal expansion that eventually leads to formation of actinic keratoses and squamous cell carcinomas. In this article, we will review some of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in initiation and progression of UV-induced skin cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center