Cancer genes in mucosal melanoma, a rare and poorly understood subtype of melanoma, have been compared in humans, dogs and horses for the first time by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and their collaborators. Researchers sequenced the genomes of the same cancer across different species to pin-point key cancer genes.
The results, reported in Nature Communications, give insights into how cancer evolves across the tree of life and could guide the development of new therapies.
Mucosal melanoma is a rare form of melanoma, a tumour type usually associated with skin cancer. Of the 15,400 people diagnosed with melanoma in the UK each year*, around 1 per cent will be diagnosed with mucosal melanoma.
The cancer arises from the cells that produce pigment, known as melanocytes, which are found not only in the skin but also mucosal surfaces of the body, such as the sinuses, nasal passages, mouth, vagina and anus.
The risk factors for mucosal melanoma are unknown, and there is no known link to UV exposure or family history. Patients with the cancer often present late in the progression of the disease, and the main treatment for mucosal melanoma is surgical removal of the tumour. As well
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