What is the role of chronic ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure in the etiology of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC)?

Updated: Jul 08, 2020
  • Author: Talib Najjar, DMD, MDS, PhD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Chronic UVR exposure, such as through tanning beds, medical UV treatments, or cumulative lifetime sun exposure, is the most important risk factor for the development of cSCC. UVR is a known mutagen capable of inducing DNA damage that can lead to keratinocyte transformation. UVR has also been shown to alter the cutaneous immune response, leaving the skin susceptible to tumor formation. [7]

A number of surrogate indices of chronic UVR exposure from the sun are well known. Specifically, epidemiologic evidence suggests that geographic proximity to the equator, a history of precancerous lesions or prior skin cancers, older age, and male sex predispose an individual to the development of cSCC.

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