The genetics of skin cancer

Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2004 Nov 15;131C(1):82-92. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.c.30037.


Recent advances in molecular genetics have led to a better understanding of the biological underpinnings of skin cancer formation. As with most cancers, the RB, p53, and RAS pathways appear to play prominent roles in the pathogenesis of several skin cancer types. Although various components of these pathways may be differentially altered in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and cutaneous melanoma, the final biochemical expression of these defects may be the same. With the unraveling of these genetic mechanisms, a more targeted approach to diagnosis and treatment may be possible in the near future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma / genetics*
  • Lymphoma / physiopathology
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Melanoma / physiopathology
  • Models, Biological
  • Photosensitivity Disorders / genetics*
  • Photosensitivity Disorders / physiopathology
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • ras Proteins / metabolism


  • Retinoblastoma Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • ras Proteins