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ISRN Oncol. 2012;2012:864680. doi: 10.5402/2012/864680. Epub 2012 Jan 16.

Relationship between Latitude and Melanoma in Italy.

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Clinical and Descriptive Epidemiology Unit, Institute for Cancer Study and Prevention (ISPO), Via delle Oblate 2, 50141 Florence, Italy.



Evaluate the ecological relationship between skin melanoma epidemiology and latitude in Italy.


We used data from the Italian network of cancer registries (Airtum). In a Poisson model, we evaluated the effect on incidence, mortality, and survival of latitude, adjusting for some demographic, social, phenotypic, and behavioural variables.


Incidence increased in Italy by 17% for each degree of increase in latitude. The effect of latitude was statistically significantly present also adjusting for other variables (incidence rate ratio = 1.08). The effect of latitude on increasing mortality (mortality rate ratio = 1.27) and improving survival (relative excess risk of death = 0.93) was no longer present in the multivariate model.


Melanoma incidence, mortality, and survival vary in Italy according to latitude. After adjustment for several confounders, incidence still grows with growing latitude. Presumably, latitude expresses other variables that might be related to individual susceptibility and/or local care.

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