Electrical Signals Between Skin Cells May Influence Melanoma Initiation

Source: American Association for Cancer Research, August 2023

PHILADELPHIA – The transfer of a neurotransmitter from one type of skin cell to another (melanocytes to keratinocytes) altered electrical activity and promoted melanoma initiation in preclinical models, according to results published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer that develops in melanin-containing skin cells known as melanocytes. An intrinsic feature of melanocytes is their ability to secrete melanin-containing vesicles to surrounding skin cells called keratinocytes to give skin its color.

While approximately half of all melanomas harbor mutations in the BRAF gene, these mutations are present in many benign skin lesions as well.