UVR and Role of Pigmentation in Skin Aging and Cancer

  • Neeraj AgarwalEmail author


This chapter is focused on understanding the role of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and skin pigmentation in aging and cancer. We all are exposed to solar radiation reaching the earth surface. Solar radiation reaching the earth surface is mainly comprised of visible and ultraviolet radiation. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays can be detrimental and lead to more severe diseases like cancer. Skin pigmentation plays a major role in controlling the effect of radiation exposure. People exposed to solar radiation are differentially affected based on the amount of pigmentation present in their skin. Melanin pigment present in the skin gives the color of skin; i.e., more melanin means darker skin and also absorbs the UVR preventing from its harmful effects.


Erythema Electromagnetic radiation Sunburn Melanoma 


  1. Akasaka, T., & Kon, S. (1989). Two cases of squamous cell carcinoma arising from erythema abigne. Nippon Hifuka Gakkai Zasshi. Japanese Journal of Dermatology, 99, 735–742.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, R. R., & Parrish, J. A. (1981). The optics of human skin. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 77, 13–19. Scholar
  3. Barsh, G. S. (2003). What controls variation in human skin color? PLoS Biology., 1, E27. Scholar
  4. Barth, J., Johnson, W., & Entdeekung, D. (1987). No Title. Jahren. Hautarzt, 38, 301–303.Google Scholar
  5. Behrens, C. L., Thorgaard, C., Philip, A., & Bentzen, J. (2013). Sunburn in children and adolescents: Associations with parents’ behaviour and attitudes. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 41, 302–310. Scholar
  6. Bishop, J., Bataille, V., Gavin, A., Lens, M., Marsden, J., & Mathews, T. W. C. (2007). The prevention, diagnosis, referral and management of melanoma of the skin: Concise guidelines. Clinical Medicine (London), 7(3), 283–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brash, D. E. (2015). UV signature mutations. Photochemistry and Photobiology., 91, 15–26. Scholar
  8. Brash, D. E., Seetharam, S., Kraemer, K. H., Seidman, M. M., & Bredberg, A. (1987). Photoproduct frequency is not the major determinant of UV Base substitution hot-spots or cold spots in human-cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 84, 3782–3786. Scholar
  9. Brenner, M., & Hearing, V. J. (2008). The protective role of melanin against UV damage in human skin. Photochemistry and Photobiology., 84, 539–549. Scholar
  10. CDC. (2012). Sunburn and sun protective behaviors among adults aged 18–29 years--United States, 2000–2010. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 61(18), 317–322. Scholar
  11. Chang, Y. M., Barrett, J. H., Bishop, T. D., Armstrong, B. K., Bataille, V., Bergman, W., et al. (2009). Sun exposure and melanoma risk at different latitudes: A pooled analysis of 5700 cases and 7216 controls. International Journal of Epidemiology, 38, 814–830. Scholar
  12. Chedekel, M. R., Smith, S. K., Post, P. W., Pokora, A., & Vessell, D. L. (1978). Photodestruction of pheomelanin: Role of oxygen. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 75, 5395–5399. Scholar
  13. Cheli, Y., Luciani, F., Khaled, M., Beuret, L., Bille, K., Gounon, P., et al. (2009). αMSH and cyclic AMP elevating agents control melanosome pH through a protein kinase A-independent mechanism. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284, 18699–18706. Scholar
  14. Chew, S., Deleo, V. A., & Harber, L. C. (1987). An animal model for evaluation of topical photoprotection against ultraviolet a (320–380 nm) radiation. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 89, 410–414. Scholar
  15. Chew, S., Deleo, V. A., & Harber, L. C. (1988). Longwave ultraviolet radiation (UVA)-induced alteration of epidermal DNA synthesis. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 47, 383–389. Scholar
  16. Crump, C., Sundquist, K., Sieh, W., Winkleby, M. A., & Sundquist, J. (2014). Season of birth and other perinatal risk factors for melanoma. International Journal of Epidemiology, 43, 793–801. Scholar
  17. Cust, A. E., Jenkins, M. A., Goumas, C., Armstrong, B. K., Schmid, H., Aitken, J. F., et al. (2011). Early-life sun exposure and risk of melanoma before age 40 years. Cancer Causes and Control, 22, 885–897. Scholar
  18. Everett, M. A., Yeargers, E., Sayre, R. M., & Olson, R. L. (1966). Penetration of epidermis by ultraviolet rays. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 5, 533–542. Scholar
  19. Garbe, C., & Leiter, U. (2009). Melanoma epidemiology and trends. Clinics in Dermatology, 27, 3–9. Scholar
  20. Garbe, C., & Orfanos, C. E. (1990). Epidemiology of malignant melanoma in Central Europe: Risk factors and prognostic predictors. Results of the central malignant melanoma registry of the German dermatological society. Pigment Cell Research, 3, 285–294. Scholar
  21. Grant, W. B. (2008). The effect of solar UVB doses and vitamin D production, skin cancer action spectra, and smoking in explaining links between skin cancers and solid tumours. European Journal of Cancer, 44, 12–15. Scholar
  22. Herschel, W. (1800). Investigation e powers of the prismatic colours etc. Philosophical Transactions, 255–292.Google Scholar
  23. Ito, S. (2003). IFPCS presidential lecture: A chemist’s view of melanogenesis. Pigment Cell Research, 16, 230–236. Scholar
  24. Jablonski, N. G., & Chaplin, G. (2000). The evolution of human skin coloration. Journal of Human Evolution, 39, 57–106. Scholar
  25. Jones, C., Tyring, S., Lee, P., & Fine, J. (1988). Development of neuroendocrine (Merkel cell) carcinoma mixed with squamous cell carcinoma in erythema abigne. Archives of Dermatology, 124, 110–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kligman, L. (1982). Intensification of ultraviolet-induced dermal damage by infrared radiation. Archives of Dermatological Research, 272, 229–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kligman, L. (1986). Photoaging. Manifestations, prevention, and treatment. Dermatologic Clinics, 4, 517–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kollias, N., Sayre, R. M., Zeise, L., & Chedekel, M. R. (1991). Photoprotection by melanin. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B, 9, 135–160. Scholar
  29. Krauthammer, M., Kong, Y., Ha, B. H., Evans, P., Bacchiocchi, A., McCusker, J. P., et al. (2012). Exome sequencing identifies recurrent somatic RAC1 mutations in melanoma. Nature Genetics, 44, 1006–1014. Scholar
  30. Loomis, W. F. (1967). Skin-pigment regulation of vitamin-D biosynthesis in man. Science, 157, 501–506. Scholar
  31. Lydahl, E. (1984). Infrared radiation and cataract. Acta Ophthalmologica – Supplementum, 166, 1–63.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Menzel, D. (1959). Our Sun, rev. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mitra, D., Luo, X., Morgan, A., Wang, J., Hoang, M. P., Lo, J., et al. (2012). An ultraviolet-radiation-independent pathway to melanoma carcinogenesis in the red hair/fair skin background. Nature, 491, 449–453. Scholar
  34. Munoz-Munoz, J. L., García-Molina, F., Varón, R., Tudela, J., García-Cánovas, F., & Rodríguez-López, J. N. (2009). Generation of hydrogen peroxide in the melanin biosynthesis pathway. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Proteins and Proteomics, 1794, 1017–1029. Scholar
  35. NIHCDCS. (1989). Sunlight, ultraviolet radiation, and the skin. 7(8).Google Scholar
  36. Noonan, F. P., Zaidi, M. R., Wolnicka-Glubisz, A., Anver, M. R., Bahn, J., Wielgus, A., et al. (2012). Melanoma induction by ultraviolet A but not ultraviolet B radiation requires melanin pigment. Nature Communications, 3, 884. Scholar
  37. Pathak, M. (1967). Photobiology of melanogenesis: Biophysical aspects. In W. Montagna & F. Hu (Eds.), Advances of biology of skin. New York: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  38. Peak, J. G., & Peak, M. J. (1990). Ultraviolet light induces double-strand breaks in DNA of cultured human P3 cells as measured by neutral filter elution. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 52, 387–393. Scholar
  39. Pfahlberg, A., Kölmel, K. F., & Gefeller, O. (2001). Timing of excessive ultraviolet radiation and melanoma: Epidemiology does not support the existence of a critical period of high susceptibility to solar ultraviolet radiation-induced melanoma. British Journal of Dermatology, 144, 471–475. Scholar
  40. Premi, S., Wallisch, S., Mano, C. M., Weiner, A. B., Bacchiocchi, A., Wakamatsu, K., Bechara, E. J. H., Halaban, R, Douki, T., & Brash, D. E. (2015). Chemiexcitation of melanin derivatives induces DNA photoproducts long after UV exposure. Science, 347(6224), 842–847. Scholar
  41. Purdue, M. P., Freeman, L. E. B., Anderson, W. F., & Tucker, M. A. (2008). Recent trends in incidence of cutaneous melanoma among US caucasian young adults. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Scholar
  42. Schreier, W. J., Schrader, T. E., Koller, F. O., Gilch, P., Crespo-Hernández, C. E., Swaminathan, V. N., et al. (2007). Thymine dimerization in DNA is an ultrafast photoreaction. Science, 315, 625–629. Scholar
  43. Simon, J. D., Peles, D., Wakamatsu, K., & Ito, S. (2009). Current challenges in understanding melanogenesis: Bridging chemistry, biological control, morphology, and function. Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research, 22, 563–579. Scholar
  44. Sterenborg, H. J. C. M., & van der Leun, J. C. (1990). Tumorigenesis by a long wavelength UV-A source. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 51, 325–330. Scholar
  45. Takeuchi, S., Zhang, W., Wakamatsu, K., Ito, S., Hearing, V. J., Kraemer, K. H., & Brash, D. E. (2004). Melanin acts as a potent UVB photosensitizer to cause an atypical mode of cell death in murine skin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101, 15076–15081. Scholar
  46. Volkmer, B., & Greinert, R. (2011). UV and children’s skin. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, 107, 386–388. Scholar
  47. Wendt, J., Schanab, O., Binder, M., Pehamberger, H., & Okamoto, I. (2012). Site-dependent actinic skin damage as risk factor for melanoma in a central European population. Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research, 25, 234–242. Scholar
  48. Williams, P. F., Olsen, C. M., Hayward, N. K., & Whiteman, D. C. (2011). Melanocortin 1 receptor and risk of cutaneous melanoma: A meta-analysis and estimates of population burden. International Journal of Cancer, 129, 1730–1740. Scholar
  49. Yamaguchi, Y., Brenner, M., & Hearing, V. J. (2007). The regulation of skin pigmentation. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 282, 27557–27561. Scholar
  50. Zigman, S. (1993). Ocular light damage. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 57, 1060–1068. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/OncologySamuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute Cedars-Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations