UV wavelength-dependent DNA damage and human non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer

Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2012 Jan;11(1):90-7. doi: 10.1039/c1pp05144j. Epub 2011 Aug 1.


Ultraviolet (UV) irradiation from the sun has been epidemiologically and mechanistically linked to skin cancer, a spectrum of diseases of rising incidence in many human populations. Both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers are associated with sunlight exposure. In this review, we discuss the UV wavelength-dependent formation of the major UV-induced DNA damage products, their repair and mutagenicity and their potential involvement in sunlight-associated skin cancers. We emphasize the major role played by the cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) in skin cancer mutations relative to that of (6-4) photoproducts and oxidative DNA damage. Collectively, the data implicate the CPD as the DNA lesion most strongly involved in human cancers induced by sunlight.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA Damage*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / etiology*
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / genetics*
  • Pyrimidine Dimers
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Pyrimidine Dimers