Alterations in theras oncogene and thep53 tumor suppressor gene in ultraviolet radiation-induced skin carcinogenesis

Ying Tong, The University of Texas School of Public Health


A rapid increase of the ultraviolet radiation (UVR)-related skin cancer incidence has attracted more and more public attention during the last few decades. Prevention and treatment of UVR-related skin cancer has become an important public health issue in the United States. Recent studies indicate that mutations in ras and/or p53 genes may be involved in UVR-induced skin tumor development but the precise molecular mechanism remains unclear. In this study, alterations of H-ras and p53 genes were investigated in different stages of carcinogenesis in a chronic UVR (solar simulator) exposure-induced Sencar mouse skin carcinogenesis model in order to clarify the role of the alterations of these genes during the skin carcinogenesis process and to further understand the mechanisms by which UVR causes skin cancer. Positive ras-p21 staining in cell membranes and cytosol were detected in 18/33 (55%) of squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), but were not detected in UV-exposed skin, papillomas, or spindle cell tumors (SCTs). Positive staining of the malignant progression marker K13 was found in 17/33 (52%) of SCCs only. A significant positive correlation was observed between the K13 and the ras-p21 expression. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis and gene sequencing analysis revealed three point mutations, one (codon 56) in UV-exposed non-tumor bearing skin and the other two (codons 21 and 13) in SCCs. No UV-specific mutation patterns were found. Positive p53 nuclear staining was found in 10/37 (27%) of SCCs and 12/24 (50%) of SCTs, but was not detected in normal skin or papillomas. PCR-based SSCP and sequencing analysis revealed eight point mutations in exons 5 and 6 (four in SCTs, two in SCCs, and two in UV-exposed skin) including six C-T or C-A transitions. Four of the mutations occurred at a dipyrimidine (CC) sequence. The pattern of the mutations indicated that the mutagenic lesions were induced by UVR. These results indicate that overexpression of ras-p21 in conjunction with aberrant expression of K13 occurred frequently in UVR-induced SCCs in Sencar mouse skin. The point mutation in the H-ras gene appeared to be a rare event in UVR skin carcinogenesis and may not be responsible for overexpression of ras-p21. UVR-induced P53 gene alteration is a frequent event in UVR-induced SCCs and later stage SCT tumors in Sencar mice skin, suggesting the p53 gene mutation plays an important role in skin tumor malignant progression.

Subject Area

Oncology|Molecular biology|Pathology

Recommended Citation

Tong, Ying, "Alterations in theras oncogene and thep53 tumor suppressor gene in ultraviolet radiation-induced skin carcinogenesis" (1995). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9631379.