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Sunburns strike twice
Date:2/26/2014

Melanoma is particularly dangerous because it can form metastases in vital organs such as the lungs, liver or brain. UV radiation is considered to be the most significant triggering factor. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University Hospital and the LIMES Institute of the University of Bonn has now discovered that sunburns contribute to the development of this malignant disease not only through direct alteration of pigment cell genomes but also indirectly through inflammatory processes in the surrounding tissue. The results are now being published online in the renowned journal "Nature".

According to predictions from the Robert Koch Institute, approximately 20,000 people in Germany will develop malignant melanoma in 2014. More than 2500 of those affected will die from metastases to internal organs. "The inflammatory reaction of the skin after severe sun exposure promotes the early migration of melanoma cells along vessels within the body," says Prof. Dr. Thomas Tting, professor of Experimental Dermatology at the University of Bonn Hospital and leader of the study team.

Melanoma cells migrate along blood vessels

To understand the development and early metastasis of malignant melanoma, the researchers developed experimental models in mice which allowed them to investigate the effect of inflammatory responses following UV exposure. "We repeatedly observed increased melanoma metastases in the lungs of UV-irradiated mice," reports the dermatologist Dr. Evelyn Gaffal. Analyses of melanoma tissue sections revealed the spread of tumor cells along blood vessel surfaces in inflamed skin. Using modern methods of fluorescence and electron microscopy, the researchers observed a close association between melanoma cells, inner blood vessel walls and immune cells, especially neutrophils.

Activated neutrophils pave the way for melanoma cells

Further experiments showed that neutrophils play an
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Contact: Dr. Thomas Tüting
Thomas.Tueting@ukb.uni-bonn.de
49-228-287-15370
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert

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