Aspirin Protects Melanocytes and Keratinocytes against UVB-Induced DNA Damage In Vivo

J Invest Dermatol. 2021 Jan;141(1):132-141.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2020.06.003. Epub 2020 Jun 20.


UVR promotes skin cancer through multiple mechanisms, including induction of inflammation, oxidative stress, and DNA damage such as 8-oxoguanine and cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers. We investigated whether the anti-inflammatory activities of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid [ASA]) could protect against UVB-induced DNA damage and skin carcinogenesis. ASA reduced UVB-induced 8-oxoguanine and cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers in Melan-A melanocytes and HaCaT keratinocytes. Skin from UVB-irradiated C57BL/6 mice receiving 0.4 mg ASA daily by gavage exhibited less inflammation, fewer sunburn cells, and reduced 8-oxoguanine lesions than skin from irradiated control animals. ASA similarly reduced UVB-induced sunburn cells, 8-oxoguanine, and cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer lesions in skin of melanoma-prone TN61R mice, and this was associated with decreased prostaglandin E2 in plasma and skin. These effects of ASA, however, did not delay melanoma onset in TN61R mice exposed to a single neonatal dose of UVB. In SKH1-E mice prone to squamous cell carcinoma, ASA reduced plasma and skin prostaglandin E2 levels and indices of UVB-induced DNA damage and delayed squamous cell carcinoma onset induced by chronic UVB. These results indicate that ASA can protect against UVB-induced inflammation in skin and reduce UVB-induced DNA damage in both melanocytes and keratinocytes. These effects translated into greater chemopreventive efficacy for UVB-induced squamous cell carcinoma than melanoma mouse models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Aspirin / pharmacology*
  • DNA Damage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects*
  • Keratinocytes / pathology
  • Melanocytes / drug effects*
  • Melanocytes / pathology
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neoplasms, Experimental*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Aspirin