Roles of UVA radiation and DNA damage responses in melanoma pathogenesis

Aiman Q. Khan, Jeffrey B. Travers, Michael G. Kemp

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

21 Scopus citations


The growing incidence of melanoma is a serious public health issue that merits a thorough understanding of potential causative risk factors, which includes exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Though UVR has been classified as a complete carcinogen and has long been recognized for its ability to damage genomic DNA through both direct and indirect means, the precise mechanisms by which the UVA and UVB components of UVR contribute to the pathogenesis of melanoma have not been clearly defined. In this review, we therefore highlight recent studies that have addressed roles for UVA radiation in the generation of DNA damage and in modulating the subsequent cellular responses to DNA damage in melanocytes, which are the cell type that gives rise to melanoma. Recent research suggests that UVA not only contributes to the direct formation of DNA lesions but also impairs the removal of UV photoproducts from genomic DNA through oxidation and damage to DNA repair proteins. Moreover, the melanocyte microenvironment within the epidermis of the skin is also expected to impact melanomagenesis, and we therefore discuss several paracrine signaling pathways that have been shown to impact the DNA damage response in UV-irradiated melanocytes. Lastly, we examine how alterations to the immune microenvironment by UVA-associated DNA damage responses may contribute to melanoma development. Thus, there appear to be multiple avenues by which UVA may elevate the risk of melanoma. Protective strategies against excess exposure to UVA wavelengths of light therefore have the potential to decrease the incidence of melanoma. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 59:438–460, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-460
Number of pages23
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • ATR kinase
  • DNA damage
  • DNA damage checkpoints
  • DNA damage signaling
  • DNA repair
  • Warburg effect
  • immune suppression
  • melanocytes
  • melanoma
  • nucleotide excision repair
  • skin cancer
  • ultraviolet A radiation
  • ultraviolet radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Roles of UVA radiation and DNA damage responses in melanoma pathogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this