- The cell cycle-related genes AURKA and FOXM1 are overexpressed in melanoma. We show here that AURKA overexpression is associated with poor prognosis in three independent cohorts of melanoma patients and correlates with the presence of genomic amplification of AURKA locus and BRAFV600E mutation. AURKA overexpression may also be driven by increased promoter activation through elements such as ETS and FOXM1 found within the 5′ proximal promoter region. Activated MAPK/ERK signaling pathway mediates robust AURKA promoter activation, thereby knockdown of BRAFV600E and ERK inhibition results in reduced AURKA transcription and expression.
- The prevention of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced oxidative stress has proved to be beneficial to vitiligo patients. Simvastatin possesses antioxidative capacity and has shown protective effect in various oxidative stress-related diseases. However, whether simvastatin can protect human melanocytes against oxidative stress has not been investigated. In this study, we initially found that pretreatment with 0.1 μmol/L to 1.0 μmol/L simvastatin led to increased cell viability and decreased cell apoptosis of melanocytes in response to H2O2.
- Cellular senescence, a state of stable cell cycle arrest in response to cellular stress, is an indispensable mechanism to counter tumorigenesis by halting the proliferation of damaged cells. However, through the secretion of an array of diverse cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, and proteases known as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), senescent cells can paradoxically promote carcinogenesis. Consistent with this, removal of senescent cells delays the onset of cancer and prolongs lifespan in vivo, potentially in part through SASP reduction.
- Functional characterization and understanding of the intricate signaling mechanisms in stem-like cells is crucial for the development of effective therapies in melanoma. We have studied whether melanoma cells are phenotypically distinct and hierarchically organized according to their tumorigenic nature. We report that melanoma-specific CD133+ cancer stem cells exhibit increased tumor-initiating potential, tumor-endothelial cell interaction, and lung metastasis. These cells are able to transdifferentiate into an endothelial-like phenotype when cultured under endothelial differentiation-promoting conditions.
- Next-generation sequencing of melanomas has unraveled critical driver genes and genomic abnormalities, mostly defined as occurring at high frequency. In addition, less abundant mutations are present that link melanoma to a set of disorders, commonly called RASopathies. These disorders, which include neurofibromatosis and Noonan and Legius syndromes, harbor germline mutations in various RAS/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway genes. We highlight shared amino acid substitutions between this set of RASopathy mutations and those observed in large-scale melanoma sequencing data, uncovering a significant overlap.
- Keratinocyte-derived cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is the most common metastatic skin cancer, and its incidence is increasing globally. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNA) are involved in various biological processes, and their role in cancer progression is emerging. Whole transcriptome analysis of cSCC cells (n = 8) and normal human epidermal keratinocytes (n = 4) revealed overexpression of long intergenic ncRNA (LINC00162) in cSCC cells. The expression of LINC00162 in cSCC cells was upregulated by inhibition of the p38α and p38δ mitogen-activated protein kinases.
- The tumor microenvironment is characterized by cancer cell subpopulations with heterogeneous cell cycle profiles. For example, hypoxic tumor zones contain clusters of cancer cells that arrest in G1 phase. It is conceivable that neoplastic cells exhibit differential drug sensitivity based on their residence in specific cell cycle phases. In this study, we used two-dimensional and organotypic melanoma culture models in combination with fluorescent cell cycle indicators to investigate the effects of cell cycle phases on clinically used drugs.
- Pyogenic granuloma (PG) is a common benign vascular skin lesion presenting as a rapidly growing angiomatous papule. The pathogenesis of most sporadic PGs and PGs associated with port wine stains (PWSs) remains elusive. We report that of 10 PGs secondarily arisen on a PWS, 8 showed a BRAF c.1799T>A (p.(Val600Glu)) and 1 a NRAS c.182A>G (p.(Gln61Arg)) mutation. The GNAQ c.548G>A mutation was identified in the PG and in the respective underlying PWS, indicating that PGs originate from cells of the PWS.
- The long noncoding RNA SPRIGHTLY (formerly SPRY4-IT1), which lies within the intronic region of the SPRY4 gene, is up-regulated in human melanoma cells compared to melanocytes. SPRIGHTLY regulates a number of cancer hallmarks, including proliferation, motility, and apoptosis. To better understand its oncogenic role, SPRIGHTLY was stably transfected into human melanocytes, which resulted in increased cellular proliferation, colony formation, invasion, and development of a multinucleated dendritic-like phenotype.