Protein oxidative damage in UV-related skin cancer and dysplastic lesions contributes to neoplastic promotion and progression

Antonella Tramutola, Susanna Falcucci, Umberto Brocco, Francesca Triani, Chiara Lanzillotta, Michele Donati, Chiara Panetta, Fabiola Luzi, Federica Iavarone, Federica Vincenzoni, Massimo Castagnola, Marzia Perluigi, Fabio Di Domenico, Federico De Marco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ultraviolet (UV) component of solar radiation is the major driving force of skin carcinogenesis. Most of studies on UV carcinogenesis actually focus on DNA damage while their proteome-damaging ability and its contribution to skin carcinogenesis have remained largely underexplored. A redox proteomic analysis of oxidized proteins in solar-induced neoplastic skin lesion and perilesional areas has been conducted showing that the protein oxidative burden mostly concerns a selected number of proteins participating to a defined set of functions, namely: chaperoning and stress response; protein folding/refolding and protein quality control; proteasomal function; DNA damage repair; protein-and vesicle-trafficking; cell architecture, adhesion/extracellular matrix (ECM) interaction; proliferation/oncosuppression; apoptosis/survival, all of them ultimately concurring either to structural damage repair or to damage detoxication and stress response. In peri-neoplastic areas the oxidative alterations are conducive to the persistence of genetic alterations, dysfunctional apoptosis surveillance, and a disrupted extracellular environment, thus creating the condition for transformant clones to establish, expand and progress. A comparatively lower burden of oxidative damage is observed in neoplastic areas. Such a finding can reflect an adaptive selection of best fitting clones to the sharply pro-oxidant neoplastic environment. In this context the DNA damage response appears severely perturbed, thus sustaining an increased genomic instability and an accelerated rate of neoplastic evolution. In conclusion UV radiation, in addition to being a cancer-initiating agent, can act, through protein oxidation, as a cancer-promoting agent and as an inducer of genomic instability concurring with the neoplastic progression of established lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Cancer promotion
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Protein damage
  • Protein oxidation
  • Redox proteomics
  • Skin cancer
  • Solar radiation
  • Stress response
  • Ultraviolet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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