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The role of human endogenous retroviruses in melanoma

Authors


  • Conflicts of interest
    None declared.

Sarita Singh.
E-mail: saritasingh@doctors.org.uk

Summary

Sequencing of the human genome has established that our DNA harbours many endogenous retrovirus (ERV) sequences, remnants of ancestral exogenous retroviral infections fixed in the germline DNA. In recent years, human ERVs (HERVs) have been implicated in melanomagenesis. Retrovirus-like particles and the expression of HERV mRNA and proteins have been demonstrated in melanoma tissue. In addition, antibodies to HERV proteins have been observed in patients with melanoma. In vitro and mouse models have provided fascinating insights into the potential mechanisms of HERVs in melanomagenesis. This review considers the evidence associating HERVs with melanoma.

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