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Br J Cancer. 2002 Apr 8;86(7):1085-92.

A pooled analysis of 10 case-control studies of melanoma and oral contraceptive use.

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  • 1Section of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Community and Family Medicine Dartmouth Medical School, 7927 Rubin 462M-3, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, New Hampshire, NH 03756-0001, USA.


Data regarding the effects of oral contraceptive use on women's risk of melanoma have been difficult to resolve. We undertook a pooled analysis of all case-control studies of melanoma in women completed as of July 1994 for which electronic data were available on oral contraceptive use along with other melanoma risk factors such as hair colour, sun sensitivity, family history of melanoma and sun exposure. Using the original data from each investigation (a total of 2391 cases and 3199 controls), we combined the study-specific odds ratios and standard errors to obtain a pooled estimate that incorporates inter-study heterogeneity. Overall, we observed no excess risk associated with oral contraceptive use for 1 year or longer compared to never use or use for less than 1 year (pooled odds ratio (pOR)=0.86; 95% CI=0.74-1.01), and there was no evidence of heterogeneity between studies. We found no relation between melanoma incidence and duration of oral contraceptive use, age began, year of use, years since first use or last use, or specifically current oral contraceptive use. In aggregate, our findings do not suggest a major role of oral contraceptive use on women's risk of melanoma.

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