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International Researchers Reveal Clues to Aggressive Skin Cancers

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Study results published in Cell Communication and Signaling provide the molecular basis of potential future therapies for a uncommon yet debilitating skin cancer: skin-fragility disorder recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. Specifically, the primary cause of premature death in patients with this disorder is cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, noted Verena Wally, PhD, of Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria, and colleagues. The researchers investigated whether specific molecular and cellular changes occur in aggressively malignant cutaneous squamous cell tumors.

Using micro-RNA (miRNA) expression profiling of cells isolated from control skin and cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas, the team indeed found several miRNAs dysregulated in these skin cancers, including miR-10b. What’s more, the investigators also learned, “miR-10b mediates an aspect of cancer stemness—that of enhanced tumor cell adhesion, known to facilitate metastatic colonization,” explained the team. Neither the potential prometastatic function of miR-10b nor the upregulation of miR-10b in aggressive cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas had ever before been reported, they declared.

A major factor in the impact of this type of skin cancer on patients with dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is the skin’s integrity becoming so impaired that chronic wounds frequently form, within which cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas can develop and escape early detection, explained Dr. Wally and her associates. Early detection of these tumors may potentially be accomplished if miR-10b expression could be developed as a biomarker. Similarly, such expression could also be used to monitor therapy in the context of aggressive squamous cell skin cancers, they suggested. 

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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