Photocarcinogenesis: an overview

J Photochem Photobiol B. 1997 Aug;40(1):29-47. doi: 10.1016/s1011-1344(97)00021-3.


Photocarcinogenesis represents the sum of a complex of simultaneous and sequential biochemical events that ultimately lead to the occurrence of skin cancer. These events, initiated by UV radiation of appropriate wavelength, include the formation of DNA photoproducts: DNA repair; mutation of proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes; UV-production of radical species with subsequent effects on mutation and extra-nuclear function; and other epigenetic events that influence the course of carcinogenesis. The epigenetic influences may include immunological responses, antioxidant defenses, and dietary factors. This review represents an effort to provide current research results in the aforementioned areas and an attempt to meld these events into a comprehensive overview of photocarcinogenesis. If effective prevention and intervention strategies for skin cancer are to developed, a more thorough understanding of the disease process is imperative.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA / radiation effects*
  • DNA Adducts
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogenes
  • Rodentia
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • DNA Adducts
  • DNA