Sunlight and Skin Cancer: Inhibition of p53 Mutations in UV-irradiated Mouse Skin by Sunscreens

Nat Med. 1997 May;3(5):510-4. doi: 10.1038/nm0597-510.


UV-induced mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene play an essential role in skin cancer development. We report here that such mutations can be detected in UV-irradiated mouse skin months before the gross appearance of skin tumors. Application of SPF-15 sunscreens to mouse skin before each UV irradiation nearly abolished the frequency of p53 mutations. These results indicate that p53 mutation is an early event in UV skin carcinogenesis and that inhibition of this event may serve as an early end point for assessing protective measures against skin cancer development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, p53 / genetics*
  • Genes, p53 / radiation effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mutagenesis / drug effects*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Sunscreening Agents / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Sunscreening Agents