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Dermatoendocrinol. 2016 Jul 27;8(1):e1215391. doi: 10.1080/19381980.2016.1215391. eCollection 2016 Jan-Dec.

Worldwide cutaneous malignant melanoma incidences analyzed by sex, age, and skin type over time (1955-2007): Is HPV infection of androgenic hair follicular melanocytes a risk factor for developing melanoma exclusively in people of European-ancestry?

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Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, Marquette University , Milwaukee, WI , USA.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, George Washington University , Washington, DC, USA.
Body of Knowledge, Inc., Division of Human Disease Research Worldwide , Racine, WI, USA.


The cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) incidence has been increasing in an exponential manner in certain populations around the world for over 7 decades. To help illuminate the etiology, we performed worldwide temporal (1955-2007) CMM incidence analysis by sex, age (0-14, 15-29, 30-49, 50-69, 70-85+), and skin type on 6 continents using data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. We observe an exponential increase in the CMM incidence over time and an increase of about 2 orders of magnitude between age groups 0-14 and 15-29 exclusively in European-ancestry populations around the world independent of skin type (I-III or III-IV). Other populations like the Chinese (III-IV) had much lower CMM incidences that either remained stable or temporally decreased but did not display a dramatic increase between the youngest age groups. The dramatic increase in the incidence between the youngest age groups found only in European-ancestry populations suggests one of the most important risk factors for CMM may be developing androgenic hair, the occurrence of which appears to correlate with the distribution of CMM over male and female body sites. Besides that potential new risk factor, the increasing CMM incidence with increasing age, known not to be from cumulative UV doses, may be associated with age-related changes to skin, i.e., thinning epidermis causing lower vitamin D3 levels, and hair, i.e., whitening from higher reactive oxygen species. The temporal exponential increasing CMM incidence in European-ancestry populations may be due to Human Papilloma Virus infection of follicular hair melanocytes, found in CMM biopsies.


European-Ancestry; aging; hormones; puberty; skin cancer; time trends

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