Early Detection Research Network

Role of mucins in the skin during benign and malignant conditions.

Skin-related diseases comprise a major health challenge to the practicing physician, and constitute a significant psychological, social and financial burden to the society. Further, skin cancer, especially non-melanoma skin cancer is currently the leading type of malignancy in the Western world. Given the huge burden of skin diseases, there is growing emphasis on understanding their pathophysiology, and towards their early detection. Mucins are high-molecular weight O- and N-linked glycoproteins that have emerged in recent years as important molecules in maintaining health and in promoting or protecting against inflammation and cancer. They have also begun to emerge as highly specific diagnostic and prognostic markers and novel therapeutic targets in several malignant disorders. However, their role in cutaneous pathologies has remained largely obscured. The present review provides the expression patterns and proposed role of mucins in the healthy skin and various benign and malignant skin diseases. The review has immense clinical significance as the availability of highly specific reagents including monoclonal antibodies against mucins makes them extremely attractive targets for specific diagnosis and/or immunotherapy of benign and malignant cutaneous diseases.

Batra SK, Bonthu N, Chakraborty S, Swanson BJ

21146919

Cancer Lett., 2011, 301 (2)