The role of endogenous IFN-β in cutaneous melanoma: Consequences of epidermal hyperplasia

Marya Faith McCarty, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The purpose of this study was to characterize epidermal hyperplasia overlying malignant melanoma, to determine the mitogenic factor responsible for the induction of this hyperplasia and to investigate its biological consequence. Whether increased keratinocyte proliferation overlying melanoma is due to production of growth factors by the tumor cells or to other mechanisms is unknown. Epidermal hyperplasia overlying human melanoma was found overlying thick (>4.0mm), but not thin (<1.0mm) tumors. Immunostaining of the sections for growth factors related to angiogenesis revealed that epidermal hyperplasia was associated with loss of IFN-β production by the keratinocytes directly overlying the tumors. Since previous studies from our laboratory have demonstrated that exogenous administration of IFN-β negatively regulates angiogenesis, we hypothesize that tumors are able to produce growth factors which stimulate the proliferation of cells in the surrounding tissues. This hyperplasia leads to a decrease in the endogenous negative regulator of angiogenesis, IFN-β. The human melanoma cell line, DM-4 and several of its clones were studied to identify the mitogenic factor for keratinocytes. The expression of TGF-α directly correlated with epidermal hyperplasia in the DM-4 clones. A375SM, a human melanoma cell line that produces high levels of TGF-α, was transfected with a plasmid encoding full-length antisense TGF-α. The parental and transfected cells were implanted intradermally into nude mice. The extent of epidermal hyperplasia directly correlated with expression of TGF-α and decreased production of IFN-β, hence, increased angiogenesis. In the next set of experiments, we determined the role of IFN-β on angiogenesis, tumor growth and metastasis of skin tumors. Transgenic mice containing a functional mutation in the receptor for IFN α/β were obtained. A375SM melanoma cells were implanted both s.c. and i.v. into IFN α/βR −/− mice. Tumors in the IFN α/β R −/− mice exhibited increased angiogenesis and metastasis. IFN α/βR −/− mice were exposed to chronic UV irradiation. Autochthonous tumors developed earlier in the transgenic mice than the wild-type mice. Collectively, the data show that TGF-α produced by tumor cells induces proliferation of keratinocytes, leading to epidermal hyperplasia overlying malignant melanoma associated with loss of IFN-β and enhanced angiogenesis, tumorigenicity and metastasis.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Oncology

Recommended Citation

McCarty, Marya Faith, "The role of endogenous IFN-β in cutaneous melanoma: Consequences of epidermal hyperplasia" (2002). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3046064.