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Real-time PCR analysis of a 3895 bp mitochondrial DNA deletion in nonmelanoma skin cancer and its use as a quantitative marker for sunlight exposure in human skin

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andrew Harbottle, Professor Mark Birch-MachinORCiD


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Previous findings from our own laboratory have shown that the frequency of occurrence (i.e. the simple presence or absence) of the 3895 bp mitochondrial DNA deletion is increased with increasing sun exposure. The present study has significantly extended this work by developing, validating and then using a quantitative real-time PCR assay to investigate for the first time the actual level (as opposed to the frequency of occurrence) of the 3895 bp deletion in human skin from different sun-exposed body sites and tumours from nonmelanoma skin cancer patients. We investigated the 3895 bp deletion in 104 age-matched split human skin samples taken from various sun-exposed sites defined as usually exposed (n=60) and occasionally exposed (n=44) when outdoors. The results clearly show an increased level of the 3895 bp deletion with increasing sun exposure. Specifically, there was a significantly higher level of the deletion in the usually sun-exposed compared to the occasionally sun-exposed skin (P=0.0009 for dermis, P=0.008 for epidermis; two-tailed t-test). Our study has also extended previous findings by showing that the level of the 3895 bp deletion is significantly higher in the dermis compared with the epidermis both in the occasionally sun-exposed samples (P=0.0143) and in the usually sun-exposed skin. (P=0.0007). © 2006 Cancer Research UK.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harbottle A, Birch-Machin MA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Cancer

Year: 2006

Volume: 94

Issue: 12

Pages: 1887-1893

ISSN (print): 0007-0920

ISSN (electronic): 1532-1827

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603178

PubMed id: 16721366


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