Researchers showed a critical link in mapping recurrent mutations of melanoma the most serious form of skin cancer in humans has been discovered. The study was published in Nature Communications, researchers established that DNA binding by a specific set of transcription factors, called ETS, is inherently mutagenic in UV-exposed cells. 

With new genome mapping technology, these findings provide a crucial understanding of mutations that result at ETS binding sites located in specific genes that are known to be drivers in the onset of melanoma in humans.

Researchers have developed a next-generation sequencing-based technology that allows them to precisely map the locations of UV-induced DNA damage throughout the whole human genome. Using this advanced technology, they generated a high-resolution UV damage map in human cells.

By correlating the UV damage map with melanoma mutations, they discovered significantly elevated UV damage levels at ETS binding sites, which massively increased mutation rates at the same sites in sequenced melanoma genomes.

DNA Mapping 

UV-induced DNA damage is the major risk factor for melanoma, and DNA repair is a vital first line of defense against DNA damage to prevent mutations and cancer. These pivotal results establish a fundamental research tool in cancer research and confirm we are on the correct course to further discovery by mapping UV damage in human cells.

These results are the latest in a series of major findings over the past three decades that have established WSU as a leading research institution in this area of basic cancer research.