New scientific evidence that may shed light on why men are more likely than women to develop aggressive forms of skin cancer has been published today in Carcinogenesis. The research carried out by scientists in UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research shows that a gene found only in men is altered by a chemical process, which is in turn linked to aggressive forms of melanoma.
Dr William Gallagher, UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science and UCD Conway Institute has led the work of a team of researchers who are trying to identify potential biological markers that could flag aggressive forms of melanoma. Using the latest gene chip technology, their work has focused on 66 genes that undergo changes as a melanoma moves from a non-aggressive to an aggressive state. Dr Gallagher and his team have discovered that a common feature among a significant percentage of these genes is that they have been chemically altered by a process called DNA methylation.
One of these genes turned off by this process, TSPY, is located only on the male Y chromosome and, for the first time, may provide a molecular clue to the commonly held belief that men are not only more likely to develop melanoma but that it tends to be more aggressive.
Elaine Quinn | alfa
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