Eczema Patients may have Lower Chances of Developing Skin Cancer: Study

Eczema Patients may have Lower Chances of Developing Skin Cancer: StudyAn exaggerated inflammatory reaction due to eczema may reduce chances of eczema sufferers to develop skin cancer, finds a new study by King's College London.

The immune response due to the skin condition could destroy potentially cancerous cells, reducing the risk of formation of tumors.  Researchers included genetically engineered mice lacking three skin proteins and they replicated some of the skin problems found in eczema patients.  These mice were termed as 'knock out' mice.

For comparative purposes, researchers also included normal mice.  Effects of two cancer-causing chemicals were compared in both the types of mice.  The number of benign tumors per mouse was six times lower in the knock-out mice.

Though both the groups were equally susceptible of having cancer-causing mutations, the immune response due to the skin condition in knock-out mice increased the shedding of potentially cancerous cells from the skin.

The study is one of a kind to prove how the allergy due to the skin condition could provide protection against skin cancer.  Professor Fiona Watt, Director of centre for stem cells and regenerative medicine at King's College London, said, "We are excited by our findings as they establish a clear link between cancer susceptibility and an allergic skin condition in our experimental model".

Another important point unveiled through the study is changes in body's immune system could prove an important strategy in treating cancer.  Watt thinks the study may be able to give hope to eczema sufferers that their skin condition may actually be protecting them against skin cancer.

Dr Mike Turner, Head of infection and immunobiology at the Wellcome Trust, said skin cancer rate is on the rise in many countries.  Such studies provide an insight into the body's ability to prevent tumor formation.