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Br J Cancer. 2001 Nov 2;85(9):1304-10.

Combined risk factors for melanoma in a Mediterranean population.

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Genetic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, 6120 Executive Blvd, Bethesda, MD 20892-7236, USA.


A case-control study of non-familial melanoma including 183 incident cases and 179 controls was conducted in North-Eastern Italy to identify important risk factors and determine how combination of these affects risk in a Mediterranean population. Presence of dysplastic nevi (OR = 4.2, 95% CI = 2.4-7.4), low propensity to tan (OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.1-5.0), light eye (OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.1-5.2), and light skin colour (OR = 4.1, 95% CI = 1.4-12.1) were significantly associated with melanoma risk after adjustment for age, gender and pigmentation characteristics. A chart which identifies melanoma risk associated with combinations of these factors is presented; it can be used to identify subjects who would most benefit from preventive measures in Mediterranean populations. According to the combination of these factors, a relative risk range from 1 to 98.5 was found. Light skin colour, high number of sunburns with blistering, and low propensity to tan were significantly associated with melanoma thickness, possibly indicating that individuals with these characteristics underestimate their risk and seek attention when their lesion is already advanced.

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