COLUMBUS, Ohio Men are three times more likely than women to develop a common form of skin cancer but medical science doesn't know why. A new study may provide part of the answer.
Researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC James) have found that male mice had lower levels of an important skin antioxidant than female mice and higher levels of certain cancer-linked inflammatory cells.
The antioxidant, a protein called catalase, inhibits skin cancer by mopping up hydrogen peroxide and other DNA-damaging reactive-oxygen compounds that form during exposure to ultraviolet B light (UVB), a common source of sunburn and cancer-causing skin damage. Studies by others have linked low catalase activity to skin cancer progression.
The research is published online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
The findings suggest that women may have more natural antioxidant protection in the skin than men, say study co-leaders Gregory Lesinski and Tatiana Oberyszyn, both of the OSUCCC James.
"As a result, men may be more susceptible to oxidative stress in the skin, which may raise the risk of skin cancer in men compared to women," says Lesinski, an assistant professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and a member of the OSUCCC James Innate Immunity Program.
The study also found that UVB exposure caused a unique inflammatory white blood cell population called 'myeloid-derived suppressor cells' to migrate from the bone marrow into the exposed skin. Furthermore, higher numbers of these cells moved into the skin of male mice than female mice.
"To our knowledge, we've shown for the first time that UVB exposure causes a migration of systemic myeloid-derived suppressor cells, and it suggests that these cells might be a novel source of UVB-induced immune suppression," says first author Nicholas Sullivan, a resea
|Contact: Darrell E. Ward|
Ohio State University Medical Center