In some cases, cancer can develop in the cells that reside in hair follicles.
Scientists from new York University said that in some cases, particularly dangerous skin cancer can develop from stem cells that determine hair color and are found in hair follicles and not in the upper layers of the skin.
Previous studies have suggested that the main cause of melanoma is ultraviolet radiation. However, the new work shows that the triggers are always present in normal follicles.
In the study, researchers found that oncogenic pigment cells migrate from the follicle to the outer layer of skin, where it begins the development of cancer. Malignant cells begin to multiply in the epidermis, and then penetrating into the deeper layers of the skin. These cells lose markers of follicular origin and acquire characteristics of cells in other skin tissues.
To such conclusions researchers came on the basis of observations of genetically modified mice, and then confirmed them on samples of human skin.