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Pediatr Dermatol. 2016 Jan-Feb;33(1):62-8. doi: 10.1111/pde.12730. Epub 2015 Dec 8.

Neonatal Blue Light Phototherapy and Melanocytic Nevus Count in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies.

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T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts.
National Skin Centre, Singapore City, Singapore.



Neonatal blue light phototherapy (NBLP) is an established method of managing neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. Approximately 5% of newborns are exposed to NBLP. Evidence of whether NBLP predisposes to the development of melanocytic nevi later in life has been conflicting.


The goal of the current study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to quantitatively assess the effect of NBLP on melanocytic nevus count.


We searched for observational studies in Medline, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register from their inception to April 15, 2015. Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology guidelines were followed. DerSimonian and Laird random-effects models were used to calculate the weighted mean difference (WMD). Publication bias was assessed using a funnel plot and the Egger's test.


Five studies with a total of 2,921 subjects were included, of whom 642 underwent NBLP. With random-effects modeling, those who had previous NBLP did not have a significantly higher mean number of melanocytic nevi (WMD = 0.32 [95% confidence interval -0.67, 1.31], p = 0.53). Visual inspection of the funnel plot suggested potential publication bias, although the Egger's test (p = 0.09) indicated no small-study effect.


There was no evidence that prior NBLP exposure significantly increased the number of melanocytic nevi. Available evidence has not revealed any cause for major concern for NBLP. Other risk factors such as exposure to sunlight, childhood history of sunburn, and fair skin complexion might play a greater role in the development of melanocytic nevi in childhood.

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