Researchers discovered how melanoma changes its environment to support metastasis

Source: Eurek Alert!, July 2023

A new study conducted at Tel Aviv University and the Sheba Medical Center reveals how melanoma cancer cells affect their close environment to support their needs – by forming new lymph vessels in the dermis in order to go deeper into the skin and spread through the body. The researchers believe that the new discovery may contribute to the development of a vaccine against the deadly cancer.

The scientific breakthrough was led by Prof. Carmit Levy of TAU’s Faculty of Medicine and Prof. Shoshana Greenberger from the Sheba Medical Center. The study was funded by ICRF (the Israel Cancer Research Fund) and its results appeared in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology published by Nature.

Melanoma, the deadliest of all skin tumors, starts with uncontrolled division of melanocyte cells in the epidermis – the top layer of the skin. In the second stage the cancer cells penetrate the dermis and metastasize through the lymphatic and blood systems. In previous studies a dramatic rise was observed in the density of lymph vessels in the skin around the melanoma – a mechanism that was not understood by researchers until now.