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Stopping Skin Cancer's Spread

Researchers disrupt molecular link in metastasis

FRIDAY, July 16, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- An international team of scientists has found an important molecular link in the spread of skin cancer.

The researchers also were able to significantly block the spread of melanoma throughout the body by disrupting the link, says a study published in the July issue of Cancer Research.

The spread of melanoma cancer cells requires the interaction of two proteins called peptides, one located on the cell's surface and another outside the cell, the scientists said.

To disrupt that link, the researchers introduced a synthetic peptide that mimics the protein located on the cancer cell's surface. The peptide created "static" that hampered the spread of cancer cells.

Mice were used to determine whether the strategy would work. The researchers found that even when skin cancer cells successfully spread in mice, they formed a tumor that was smaller in size and lacking in ample growth of new blood vessels.

More than 1 million cases of basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year, while melanoma and other non-epithelial skin cancers will cause an estimated 10,250 deaths in 2004.

More information

The National Cancer Institute has more about melanoma.

SOURCES: American Association for Cancer Research, news release, July 15, 2004
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