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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2008 Sep 3;100(17):1215-22. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djn260. Epub 2008 Aug 26.

Nonmelanoma skin cancer and risk for subsequent malignancy.

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Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD, USA.



Individuals with a personal history of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) may have an increased risk of subsequent noncutaneous malignancies. To test this hypothesis, we carried out a community-based, prospective cohort study.


In the CLUE (Give Us a Clue to Cancer and Heart Disease) II cohort, which was established in Washington County, MD, in 1989, the risk of new malignancies was compared among individuals with (n = 769) and without (n = 18,405) a personal history of NMSC (total n = 19,174) during a 16-year follow-up period. Pathologically confirmed NMSC (and other malignancies) were ascertained from the Washington County Cancer Registry. Cox regression analysis with time-dependent covariates was used to determine the hazard ratios (presented as multivariable-adjusted relative risks [RRs]) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of second primary malignancies associated with a previously confirmed NMSC diagnosis. All statistical tests were two-sided.


The crude incidence rate (per 10,000 person-years) of subsequent cancers other than NMSC among participants with a positive personal history of NMSC was 293.5 and with a negative history was 77.8. Compared with persons with no personal history of NMSC, those with such a history had a statistically significantly increased risk of being diagnosed with a subsequent cancer other than NMSC (RR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.70 to 2.33) after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, and educational level. The association was observed for both basal cell carcinoma (multivariable-adjusted RR = 2.03, 95% CI = 1.70 to 2.42) and squamous cell carcinoma (multivariable-adjusted RR = 1.97, 95% CI = 1.50 to 2.59) of the skin. NMSC was a statistically significantly stronger cancer risk factor in younger age groups than in older age groups (P for interaction = .022).


This community-based, prospective cohort study provides evidence for an association between an NMSC diagnosis and an increased risk of subsequent cancer, even after adjusting for individual-level risk factors.

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