Abstract

The incidence of cutaneous melanoma has been increasing worldwide, and melanoma disproportionately contributes to skin cancer mortality. The pathogenesis of melanoma involves genetic and environmental factors, and while the effects of ultraviolet B radiation on melanoma development are well researched, fewer studies have investigated the role of ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation. We comprehensively reviewed cell, animal and epidemiology studies on the association between UVA exposure and melanomagenesis. UVA radiation has been found to have negative effects on melanocytes due to the induction of oxidative stress, dysregulation of gene transcription and creation of mutagenic photoproducts in DNA. Animal studies demonstrate adverse effects of UVA on melanocytes, including the development of melanoma. Epidemiology studies, of varying quality, that examined participants' exposure to tanning devices which use UVA radiation primarily found that UVA exposure increased the risk for melanoma. Some studies reported larger associations with increased frequency of device use, suggestive of a dose-response relationship. Overall, we found that many studies supported a positive association between UVA exposure and melanoma on both molecular and population levels. Understanding the role of UVA in the development of melanoma will inform the implementation of preventive health interventions, such as those related to sunscreen development and use and increasing restrictions on indoor tanning.

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