Due to the increased ultraviolet radiation, the incidence of melanoma is increasing worldwide more than that of any other cancer. In this study, the effects of irradiation of non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasmas (NEAPPs) on benign melanocytic tumors from our original hairless model mice (HL-RET-mice), in which benign melanocytic tumors and melanomas spontaneously develop in the skin stepwise, were examined. Expression levels of melanoma cell adhesion molecule (MCAM) and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) mRNA in melanomas were higher than those in benign melanocytic tumors in the mice. Repeated irradiation of non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasmas (NEAPPs) for the benign tumors decreased the expression levels of MCAM and MMP-2 mRNA in the tumors from the mice. Previous studies showed that MCAM sites are upstream of MMP-2, that MCAM regulates transcription of MMP-2 in melanoma cells and that MMP-2 is associated with the conversion of a benign tumor to a malignant tumor. Therefore, our results suggest that the NEAPP irradiation-mediated decrease in the expression level of MMP-2 in benign melanocytic tumors is associated with decreased expression levels of MCAM. Moreover, NEAPP irradiation might be a potential candidate for therapy to prevent melanoma development through suppression of malignant conversion in benign melanocytic tumors.
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