Growth and progression of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers regulated by ubiquitination


K. Nakayama, e-mail:


Basal cell carcinomas (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanomas are the major types of skin tumors. Despite being skin cancers, the characteristics of each cancer are widely varied. BCCs often do not proliferate rapidly, and rarely metastasize. Squamous cell carcinomas are more malignant and a certain subtype of SCC is highly metastatic. Melanomas are highly proliferative and invasive, and are most frequently metastatic. Ubiquitin and ubiquitin-related proteins post-translationally modify proteins and thereby alter the functions of their target proteins. The ubiquitination process is involved in various physiological responses, including cell growth, cell death, and DNA damage repair. Accumulating evidence suggests that ubiquitin pathways are involved in different types of cancers, including skin cancers. This review describes the major ubiquitin pathways in BCC, SCC, and melanoma. The ubiquitin pathways that are activated among the skin cancers are highly diverse, which might reflect the various characteristics of these three cancer types. Meanwhile, there are also common pathways between BCC, SCC, and melanoma. Therefore, examining the ubiquitin pathways will reveal the mechanisms of these three major skin cancer types and will suggest treatment options.