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Genes Cancer. 2011 Nov;2(11):1061-6. doi: 10.1177/1947601912440877.

Cellular senescence as a possible mechanism for halting progression of keloid lesions.

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Department of Surgery, Thyroid Cancer Research Laboratory, Endocrine Surgery Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Keloid scarring is a consequence of aberrant wound healing that leads to expansion of the scar beyond the confines of the skin injury. Keloid scars are characterized by excessive extracellular matrix disposition, prolonged proliferation of fibroblasts, increased angiogenesis, and inflammatory cell infiltration. There is no single satisfactory treatment for keloid, and it can lead to severe disfigurements and bodily dysfunction. Thus, clarification of the mechanisms underlying keloid formation, as well as those that prevent it from behaving as a malignant tumor, has significant consequences not only for treatment of keloid but also for the prevention of malignant tumor formation. Senescence is an irreversible form of growth arrest that has been shown to play a role, both in vitro and in vivo, in preventing malignant tumorigenesis upon oncogenic stress. In this study it is shown that fibroblasts embedded inside keloid scars proliferate at a slower rate compared with either those residing at the proliferative edges of the scar or normal fibroblasts. Likewise it is demonstrated that keloid fibroblasts exhibit a cell-cycle arrest with a G2/M DNA content and a higher rate of senescence. The results also indicate that levels of the tumor suppressor protein PML are higher in the active regions of keloid. The study therefore suggests that senescence is one possible mechanism by which keloid is maintained in a benign state. On this basis, "pro-senescence therapy" should be taken into consideration when designing treatment strategies for keloid.


PML; keloid; senescence

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