Acral Melanomas: Skin Cancer That Killed Bob Marley

Author: Cancer Research UK
Published: 2014/08/20 - Updated: 2021/11/14
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications

Synopsis: Acral melanomas, the rare type of skin cancer that caused the death of Bob Marley, are genetically distinct from other types of skin cancer. Although acral lentiginous melanoma is rare in Caucasians and people with lighter skin types, it is the most common subtype in people with darker skins. Acral melanoma most often affects the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, nail-beds and other hairless parts of the skin. Unlike other more common types of melanoma, it's not caused by UV damage from the sun.

Main Digest

Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered that acral melanomas - the rare type of skin cancer that caused reggae musician Bob Marley's death - are genetically distinct from other more common types of skin cancer, according to a study published in the journal Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research.

Although acral lentiginous melanoma is rare in Caucasians and people with lighter skin types, it is the most common subtype in people with darker skins. Acral lentiginous melanoma is observed on the palms, soles, under the nails and in the oral mucosa. It occurs on non hair-bearing surfaces of the body which may or may not be exposed to sunlight. It is also found on mucous membranes. Unlike other forms of melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma does not appear to be linked to sun exposure.

Acral melanoma most often affects the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, nail-beds and other hairless parts of the skin. Unlike other more common types of melanoma, it's not caused by UV damage from the sun.

The team, from the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute at The University of Manchester, sequenced the tumors of five patients with acral melanoma and combined this with data from three other patients. They then compared the pattern of genetic faults found in these eight tumors with that of more common types of skin cancer.

This revealed that the type of DNA damage found in acral melanoma is very different from other types of skin cancer. For example in acral melanomas, it was much more common to find large chunks of the DNA that had broken off and reattached elsewhere, as opposed to the smaller DNA changes typically found in more common types of skin cancer.

Study leader Professor Richard Marais, director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, at The University of Manchester, said:

"Too much UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds can lead to a build-up of DNA damage that increases skin cancer risk. But acral skin cancer is different because the gene faults that drive it aren't caused by UV damage. Pinpointing these faults is a major step towards understanding what causes this unique form of cancer, and how it can best be treated."

Nell Barrie, senior science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said:

"We hope that understanding the faults that drive acral melanoma will unlock better ways of treating this rare yet aggressive type of skin cancer. Our scientists are striving to improve survival for all cancer patients, including those with rarer forms of the disease. And this is why skin cancer will be a key research focus for the Manchester Cancer Research Center."

Furney S. et al. The mutational burden of acral melanoma revealed by whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis,Pigment cell and melanoma research (2014). DOI: 10.1111/pcmr.12279 Online at: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pcmr.12279/abstract

Attribution/Source(s):

This quality-reviewed publication pertaining to our Melanoma Skin Cancer section was selected for circulation by the editors of Disabled World due to its likely interest to our disability community readers. Though the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length, the article "Acral Melanomas: Skin Cancer That Killed Bob Marley" was originally written by Cancer Research UK, and submitted for publishing on 2014/08/20 (Edit Update: 2021/11/14). Should you require further information or clarification, Cancer Research UK can be contacted at the cancer.org.uk website. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

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Cite This Page (APA): Cancer Research UK. (2014, August 20). Acral Melanomas: Skin Cancer That Killed Bob Marley. Disabled World. Retrieved April 17, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/health/cancer/melanoma/acral-melanoma.php

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