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Skin cancer 'less likely' for eczema sufferers

ECZEMA sufferers may have less chance of developing skin cancer, research published today suggests.

The study, published in eLife, is the first to show that eczema symptoms could actually protect against skin cancer, experts at King’s College London said. Previous studies have suggested a link but it has been tough to stand up.

The researchers found the immune response triggered by the skin condition could stop tumours forming by shedding potentially cancerous cells.

Genetically engineered mice lacking three skin proteins — “knockout” mice — were used to replicate skin defects found in eczema sufferers.

The scientists studied the effects of two cancer-causing chemicals and found the number of benign tumours per mouse was six times lower in knockout mice than normal ones.

Both types of mice were equally prone to cancer-causing mutations, King’s College said, but an exaggerated inflammatory reaction in knockout mice led to more shedding of potentially cancerous cells from the skin.

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