Moles stop growing when they reach a certain size due to normal interactions between cells, despite having cancer-associated gene mutations, says a new study published today in eLife.
The findings in mice could help scientists develop new ways to prevent skin cancer growth that take advantage of the normal mechanisms that control cell growth in the body.
Mutations that activate the protein made by the BRAF gene are believed to contribute to the development of skin cancer. However, recent studies have shown that these mutations do not often cause skin cancer, but instead result in the formation of completely harmless pigmented moles on the skin. In fact, 90% of moles have these cancer-linked mutations but never go on to form tumours. “Exploring why moles stop growing might lead us to a better understanding of what goes wrong in skin cancer,” says lead author Roland Ruiz-Vega, a postdoctoral researcher at