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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2005, Issue 1, Pages 57-61
Review article

Towards a Better Understanding of the Molecular Mechanisms Involved in Sunlight-Induced Melanoma

Department of Oncology, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT9 7AB, Ireland

Received 14 April 2004; Revised 17 June 2004; Accepted 22 June 2004

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although much less prevalent than its nonmelanoma skin cancer counterparts, cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) is the most lethal human skin cancer. Epidemiological and biological studies have established a strong link between lifetime exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, particularly sunburn in childhood, and the development of melanoma. However, the specific molecular targets of this environmental carcinogen are not known. Data obtained from genetic and molecular studies over the last few years have identified the INK4a/ARF locus as the “gatekeeper” melanoma suppressor, encoding two tumour suppressor proteins in human, p16INK4a and p14ARF. Recent developments in molecular biotechnology and research using laboratory animals have made a significant gene breakthrough identifying the components of the p16p16INK4a/Rb pathway as the principal and rate-limiting targets of UV radiation actions in melanoma formation. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in melanoma development and its relationship to sunlight UV radiation.