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Special Issue "Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Cristina M. Failla
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata, IDI-IRCCS, 00167 Rome, Italy
Interests: dermal endothelial cell biology; physiological and pathological roles with a special focus on the expression of growth factor of the vascular endothelial growth factor family and their receptors; tumor angiogenesis in melanoma; inflammatory processes and tumor microenvironment
Prof. Eleonora Candi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Experimental Medicine, Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy
Interests: the role of the transcription factor p63, homolog of p53, in epithelia development and tumour formation; P63-dependent metabolism changes in normal epithelia and in pathological conditions

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and its incidence is constantly increasing. Skin cancer comprises various skin tumor types, such as basal and squamous cell carcinomas, melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, cutaneous lymphomas, and other rare diseases, which present very different etiologies, incidences, therapeutic opportunities, and outcomes. Fortunately, research in recent years has brought novel and more effective therapeutic options, while others are foreseen in the near future. Nevertheless, open questions remain: Which are the pathological drivers of skin cancers? What is the role of the skin microenvironment? Is there a role for the skin microbiota? Are there predictive biomarkers for immunotherapies? Are there molecular differences between skin cancer in young people and that in adults? Is there a genetic predisposition to skin cancer? Is there a link between some therapeutic agents and skin cancer?

This Special Issue intends to find possible answers to these and other questions in the field, underlining research and clinical gaps and proposing opportunities for future studies.

Dr. Cristina M. Failla
Prof. Eleonora Candi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • basal cell carcinoma
  • melanoma
  • cutaneous lymphomas
  • tumor microenvironment
  • genetics

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
DNA Strand Break Properties of Protoporphyrin IX by X-ray Irradiation against Melanoma
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(7), 2302; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21072302 (registering DOI) - 26 Mar 2020
Abstract
Recent reports have suggested that 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), which is a precursor to protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), leads to selective accumulation of PpIX in tumor cells and acts as a radiation sensitizer in vitro and in vivo in mouse models of melanoma, glioma, and [...] Read more.
Recent reports have suggested that 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), which is a precursor to protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), leads to selective accumulation of PpIX in tumor cells and acts as a radiation sensitizer in vitro and in vivo in mouse models of melanoma, glioma, and colon cancer. In this study, we investigated the effect of PpIX under X-ray irradiation through ROS generation and DNA damage. ROS generation by the interaction between PpIX and X-ray was evaluated by two kinds of probes, 3′-(p-aminophenyl) fluorescein (APF) for hydroxyl radical (•OH) detection and dihydroethidium (DHE) for superoxide (O2•-). •OH showed an increase, regardless of the dissolved oxygen. Meanwhile, the increase in O2•- was proportional to the dissolved oxygen. Strand breaks (SBs) of DNA molecule were evaluated by gel electrophoresis, and the enhancement of SBs was observed by PpIX treatment. We also studied the effect of PpIX for DNA damage in cells by X-ray irradiation using a B16 melanoma culture. X-ray irradiation induced γH2AX, DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in the context of chromatin, and affected cell survival. Since PpIX can enhance ROS generation even in a hypoxic state and induce DNA damage, combined radiotherapy treatment with 5-ALA is expected to improve therapeutic efficacy for radioresistant tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
Humanization of Tumor Stroma by Tissue Engineering as a Tool to Improve Squamous Cell Carcinoma Xenograft
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(6), 1951; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21061951 - 12 Mar 2020
Abstract
The role of stroma is fundamental in the development and behavior of epithelial tumors. In this regard, limited growth of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) or cell-lines derived from them has been achieved in immunodeficient mice. Moreover, lack of faithful recapitulation of the original [...] Read more.
The role of stroma is fundamental in the development and behavior of epithelial tumors. In this regard, limited growth of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) or cell-lines derived from them has been achieved in immunodeficient mice. Moreover, lack of faithful recapitulation of the original human neoplasia complexity is often observed in xenografted tumors. Here, we used tissue engineering techniques to recreate a humanized tumor stroma for SCCs grafted in host mice, by combining CAF (cancer associated fibroblasts)-like cells with a biocompatible scaffold. The stroma was either co-injected with epithelial cell lines derived from aggressive SCC or implanted 15 days before the injection of the tumoral cells, to allow its vascularization and maturation. None of the mice injected with the cell lines without stroma were able to develop a SCC. In contrast, tumors were able to grow when SCC cells were injected into previously established humanized stroma. Histologically, all of the regenerated tumors were moderately differentiated SCC with a well-developed stroma, resembling that found in the original human neoplasm. Persistence of human stromal cells was also confirmed by immunohistochemistry. In summary, we provide a proof of concept that humanized tumor stroma, generated by tissue engineering, can facilitate the development of epithelial tumors in immunodeficient mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
The β-Blocker Carvedilol Prevented Ultraviolet-Mediated Damage of Murine Epidermal Cells and 3D Human Reconstructed Skin
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 798; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21030798 - 25 Jan 2020
Abstract
The β-blocker carvedilol prevents ultraviolet (UV)-induced skin cancer, but the mechanism is unknown. Since carvedilol possesses antioxidant activity, this study investigated whether carvedilol prevents oxidative photodamage of skin, a precursor event in skin carcinogenesis. The effects of carvedilol, metoprolol (a β-blocker without antioxidant [...] Read more.
The β-blocker carvedilol prevents ultraviolet (UV)-induced skin cancer, but the mechanism is unknown. Since carvedilol possesses antioxidant activity, this study investigated whether carvedilol prevents oxidative photodamage of skin, a precursor event in skin carcinogenesis. The effects of carvedilol, metoprolol (a β-blocker without antioxidant property), and 4-hydroxycarbazole (4-OHC, a carvedilol synthesis intermediate and a free radical scavenger) were compared on UV- or H2O2-induced cell death and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in murine epidermal JB6 P+ cells. Although carvedilol attenuated cell death, metoprolol and 4-OHC failed to show protective effects. As expected, increased cellular ROS induced by H2O2 or UV was abolished by carvedilol and 4-OHC, but not by metoprolol. Consistently, carvedilol attenuated the formation of UV-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) and release of prostaglandin E2 in JB6 P+ cells. Carvedilol’s activity was further confirmed in full thickness 3D human reconstituted skin, where carvedilol attenuated UV-mediated epidermal thickening, the number of Ki-67 and p53 positive cells as well as CPD formation. Based on pathway-specific Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Array analysis, carvedilol treatment in many cases normalized UV-induced expression changes in DNA repair genes. Thus, carvedilol’s photoprotective activity is not attributed to β-blockade or direct ROS-scavenging capacity, but likely via DNA repair regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessCommunication
Verification of 5-Aminolevurinic Radiodynamic Therapy Using a Murine Melanoma Brain Metastasis Model
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(20), 5155; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20205155 - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
Melanoma is a highly aggressive cancer with a propensity for brain metastases. These can be treated by radiotherapy, but the radiation-resistant nature of melanoma makes the prognosis for melanoma patients with brain metastases poor. Previously, we demonstrated that treatment of mice with subcutaneous [...] Read more.
Melanoma is a highly aggressive cancer with a propensity for brain metastases. These can be treated by radiotherapy, but the radiation-resistant nature of melanoma makes the prognosis for melanoma patients with brain metastases poor. Previously, we demonstrated that treatment of mice with subcutaneous melanoma with 5-aminolevurinic acid (5-ALA) and X-rays in combination, (“radiodynamic therapy (RDT)”), instead of with 5-ALA and laser beams (“photodynamic therapy”), improved tumor suppression in vivo. Here, using the B16-Luc melanoma brain metastasis model, we demonstrate that 5-ALA RDT effectively treats brain metastasis. We also studied how 5-ALA RDT damages cells in vitro using a B16 melanoma culture. Cell culture preincubated with 5-ALA alone increased intracellular photosensitizer protoporphyrin IX. On X-ray irradiation, the cells enhanced their ∙OH radical generation, which subsequently induced γH2AX, a marker of DNA double-strand breaks in their nuclei, but decreased mitochondrial membrane potential. After two days, the cell cycle was arrested. When 5-ALA RDT was applied to the brain melanoma metastasis model in vivo, suppression of tumor growth was indicated. Therapeutic efficacy in melanoma treatment has recently been improved by molecular targeted drugs and immune checkpoint inhibitors. Treatment with these drugs is now expected to be combined with 5-ALA RDT to further improve therapeutic efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Paraneoplastic Dermatoses: A Brief General Review and an Extensive Analysis of Paraneoplastic Pemphigus and Paraneoplastic Dermatomyositis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(6), 2178; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21062178 - 21 Mar 2020
Abstract
Skin manifestations of systemic disease and malignancy are extremely polymorphous. Clinicians should be familiarized with paraneoplastic dermatoses in order to perform an early diagnosis of the underlying neoplasm. Lack of familiarity with cutaneous clues of internal malignancy may delay diagnosis and treatment of [...] Read more.
Skin manifestations of systemic disease and malignancy are extremely polymorphous. Clinicians should be familiarized with paraneoplastic dermatoses in order to perform an early diagnosis of the underlying neoplasm. Lack of familiarity with cutaneous clues of internal malignancy may delay diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In this review, we described several paraneoplastic dermatoses and discussed extensively two paradigmatic ones, namely paraneoplastic pemphigus and paraneoplastic dermatomyositis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessReview
The Role of Dermal Fibroblasts in Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma Syndrome Patients: An Overview
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 720; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21030720 - 22 Jan 2020
Abstract
Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (NBCCS), also named Gorlin syndrome, is a rare multisystem genetic disorder characterized by marked predisposition to basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), childhood medulloblastomas, maxillary keratocysts, celebral calcifications, in addition to various skeletal and soft tissue developmental abnormalities. Mutations in [...] Read more.
Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (NBCCS), also named Gorlin syndrome, is a rare multisystem genetic disorder characterized by marked predisposition to basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), childhood medulloblastomas, maxillary keratocysts, celebral calcifications, in addition to various skeletal and soft tissue developmental abnormalities. Mutations in the tumor suppressor gene PATCHED1 (PTCH1) have been found to be associated in the majority of NBCCS cases. PATCH1 somatic mutations and loss of heterozygosity are also very frequent in sporadic BCCs. Unlike non-syndromic patients, NBCCS patients develop multiple BCCs in sun-protected skin area starting from early adulthood. Recent studies suggest that dermo/epidermal interaction could be implicated in BCC predisposition. According to this idea, NBCCS fibroblasts, sharing with keratinocytes the same PTCH1 germline mutation and consequent constitutive activation of the Hh pathway, display features of carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAF). This phenotypic traits include the overexpression of growth factors, specific microRNAs profile, modification of extracellular matrix and basement membrane composition, increased cytokines and pro-angiogenic factors secretion, and a complex alteration of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Here, we review studies about the involvement of dermal fibroblasts in BCC predisposition of Gorlin syndrome patients. Further, we matched the emerged NBCCS fibroblast profile to those of CAF to compare the impact of cell autonomous “pre-activated state” due to PTCH1 mutations to those of skin tumor stroma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessReview
Significance of 5-S-Cysteinyldopa as a Marker for Melanoma
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(2), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21020432 - 09 Jan 2020
Abstract
Melanoma is one of the most lethal and malignant cancers and its incidence is increasing worldwide, and Japan is not an exception. Although there are numerous therapeutic options for melanoma, the prognosis is still poor once it has metastasized. The main concern after [...] Read more.
Melanoma is one of the most lethal and malignant cancers and its incidence is increasing worldwide, and Japan is not an exception. Although there are numerous therapeutic options for melanoma, the prognosis is still poor once it has metastasized. The main concern after removal of a primary melanoma is whether it has metastasized, and early detection of metastatic melanoma would be effective in improving the prognosis of patients. Thus, it is very important to identify reliable methods to detect metastases as early as possible. Although many prognostic biomarkers (mainly for metastases) of melanoma have been reported, there are very few effective for an early diagnosis. Serum and urinary biomarkers for melanoma diagnosis have especially received great interest because of the relative ease of sample collection and handling. Several serum and urinary biomarkers appear to have significant potential both as prognostic indicators and as targets for future therapeutic methods, but still there are no efficient serum and urinary biomarkers for early detection, accurate diagnosis and prognosis, efficient monitoring of the disease and reliable prediction of survival and recurrence. Levels of 5-S-cysteinyldopa (5SCD) in the serum or urine as biomarkers of melanoma have been found to be significantly elevated earlier and to reflect melanoma progression better than physical examinations, laboratory tests and imaging techniques, such as scintigraphy and echography. With recent developments in the treatment of melanoma, studies reporting combinations of 5SCD levels and new applications for the treatment of melanoma are gradually increasing. This review summarizes the usefulness of 5SCD, the most widely used and well-known melanoma marker in the serum and urine, compares 5SCD and other useful markers, and finally its application to other fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessReview
Extracellular Vesicles and Epigenetic Modifications Are Hallmarks of Melanoma Progression
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(1), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010052 - 20 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cutaneous melanoma shows a high metastatic potential based on its ability to overcome the immune system’s control. The mechanisms activated for these functions vary extremely and are also represented by the production of a number of extracellular vesicles including exosomes. Other vesicles showing [...] Read more.
Cutaneous melanoma shows a high metastatic potential based on its ability to overcome the immune system’s control. The mechanisms activated for these functions vary extremely and are also represented by the production of a number of extracellular vesicles including exosomes. Other vesicles showing a potential role in the melanoma progression include oncosomes and melanosomes and the majority of them mediate tumor processes including angiogenesis, immune regulation, and modifications of the micro-environment. Moreover, a number of epigenetic modifications have been described in melanoma and abundant production of altered microRNAs (mi-RNAs), non-coding RNAs, histones, and abnormal DNA methylation have been associated with different phases of melanoma progression. In addition, exosomes, miRNAs, and other molecular factors have been used as potential biomarkers reflecting disease evolution while others have been suggested to be potential druggable molecules for therapeutic application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessReview
Role of Nicotinamide in Genomic Stability and Skin Cancer Chemoprevention
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(23), 5946; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20235946 - 26 Nov 2019
Abstract
Nicotinamide (NAM) is an amide form of vitamin B3 and the precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), an essential co-enzyme of redox reactions for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and for other metabolic processes. As NAD+ status is critical in maintaining cellular energy, vitamin [...] Read more.
Nicotinamide (NAM) is an amide form of vitamin B3 and the precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), an essential co-enzyme of redox reactions for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and for other metabolic processes. As NAD+ status is critical in maintaining cellular energy, vitamin B3 deficiency mainly affects tissues that need high cellular energy causing pellagra and skin sun sensitivity. In animal models, NAD+ deficiency leads to UV sensitivity of the skin, impairs DNA damage response, and increases genomic instability and cancer incidence. Furthermore, NAD+ depletion is associated with human skin aging and cancer. NAM prevents the UV-induced ATP depletion boosting cellular energy and enhances DNA repair activity in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, NAM reduces skin cancer incidence and prevents the immune-suppressive effects of UV in mice. Thus, NAM is involved in the maintenance of genomic stability and may have beneficial effects against skin aging changes and tumor development. Clinical studies showed that topical use of NAM reduces cutaneous aging. Furthermore, oral NAM administration reduces the level of UV-mediated immunosuppression and lowers the rate of non-melanoma skin cancers in high-risk patients. Therefore, NAM replenishment strategy may be a promising approach for skin cancer chemoprevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessReview
p63 Is a Promising Marker in the Diagnosis of Unusual Skin Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5781; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225781 - 17 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer worldwide. Ozone depletion and climate changes might cause a further increase in the incidence rate in the future. Although the early detection of skin cancer enables it to be treated successfully, some tumours can [...] Read more.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer worldwide. Ozone depletion and climate changes might cause a further increase in the incidence rate in the future. Although the early detection of skin cancer enables it to be treated successfully, some tumours can evolve and become more aggressive, especially in the case of melanoma. Therefore, good diagnostic and prognostic markers are needed to ensure correct detection and treatment. Transcription factor p63, a member of the p53 family of proteins, plays an essential role in the development of stratified epithelia such as skin. In this paper, we conduct a comprehensive review of p63 expression in different types of skin cancer and discuss its possible use in the diagnosis and prognosis of cutaneous tumours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessReview
Melanoma and Vitiligo: In Good Company
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5731; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225731 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
Cutaneous melanoma represents the most aggressive form of skin cancer, whereas vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that leads to progressive destruction of skin melanocytes. However, vitiligo has been associated with cutaneous melanoma since the 1970s. Most of the antigens recognized by the immune [...] Read more.
Cutaneous melanoma represents the most aggressive form of skin cancer, whereas vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that leads to progressive destruction of skin melanocytes. However, vitiligo has been associated with cutaneous melanoma since the 1970s. Most of the antigens recognized by the immune system are expressed by both melanoma cells and normal melanocytes, explaining why the autoimmune response against melanocytes that led to vitiligo could be also present in melanoma patients. Leukoderma has been also observed as a side effect of melanoma immunotherapy and has always been associated with a favorable prognosis. In this review, we discuss several characteristics of the immune system responses shared by melanoma and vitiligo patients, as well as the significance of occurrence of leukoderma during immunotherapy, with special attention to check-point inhibitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessReview
Epidermolysis Bullosa-Associated Squamous Cell Carcinoma: From Pathogenesis to Therapeutic Perspectives
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5707; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225707 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a heterogeneous group of inherited skin disorders determined by mutations in genes encoding for structural components of the cutaneous basement membrane zone. Disease hallmarks are skin fragility and unremitting blistering. The most disabling EB (sub)types show defective wound healing, [...] Read more.
Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a heterogeneous group of inherited skin disorders determined by mutations in genes encoding for structural components of the cutaneous basement membrane zone. Disease hallmarks are skin fragility and unremitting blistering. The most disabling EB (sub)types show defective wound healing, fibrosis and inflammation at lesional skin. These features expose patients to serious disease complications, including the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Almost all subjects affected with the severe recessive dystrophic EB (RDEB) subtype suffer from early and extremely aggressive SCCs (RDEB-SCC), which represent the first cause of death in these patients. The genetic determinants of RDEB-SCC do not exhaustively explain its unique behavior as compared to low-risk, ultraviolet-induced SCCs in the general population. On the other hand, a growing body of evidence points to the key role of tumor microenvironment in initiation, progression and spreading of RDEB-SCC, as well as of other, less-investigated, EB-related SCCs (EB-SCCs). Here, we discuss the recent advances in understanding the complex series of molecular events (i.e., fibrotic, inflammatory, and immune processes) contributing to SCC development in EB patients, cross-compare tumor features in the different EB subtypes and report the most promising therapeutic approaches to counteract or delay EB-SCCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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Other

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Open AccessCase Report
Multiple Skin Squamous Cell Carcinomas in Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa Due to Altered Laminin-332 Function
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1426; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041426 - 20 Feb 2020
Abstract
Variably reduced expression of the basement membrane component laminin-332 (α3aβ3γ2) causes junctional epidermolysis bullosa generalized intermediate (JEB-GI), a skin fragility disorder with an increased susceptibility to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) development in adulthood. Laminin-332 is highly expressed in several types of epithelial tumors [...] Read more.
Variably reduced expression of the basement membrane component laminin-332 (α3aβ3γ2) causes junctional epidermolysis bullosa generalized intermediate (JEB-GI), a skin fragility disorder with an increased susceptibility to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) development in adulthood. Laminin-332 is highly expressed in several types of epithelial tumors and is central to signaling pathways that promote SCC tumorigenesis. However, laminin-332 mutations and expression in individuals affected by JEB-GI and suffering from recurrent SCCs have been poorly characterized. We studied a JEB-GI patient who developed over a hundred primary cutaneous SCCs. Molecular analysis combined with gene expression studies in patient skin and primary keratinocytes revealed that the patient is a functional hemizygous for the p.Cys1171* mutant allele which is transcribed in a stable mRNA encoding for a β3 chain shortened of the last two C-terminal amino acids (Cys1171-Lys1172). The lack of the Cys1171 residue involved in the C-terminal disulphide bond to γ2 chain did not prevent assembly, secretion, and proteolytic processing of the heterotrimeric molecule. Immunohistochemistry of SCC specimens revealed accumulation of mutant laminin-332 at the epithelial-stromal interface of invasive front. We conclude that the C-terminal disulphide bond is a structural element crucial for laminin-332 adhesion function in-vivo. By saving laminin-332 amount, processing, and signaling role the p.Cys1171* mutation may allow intrinsic pro-tumorigenic properties of the protein to be conveyed, thus contributing to invasiveness and recurrence of SCCs in this patient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Pathophysiology to Novel Therapeutic Approaches)
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