Objectives: This study examined the methodology of epidemiological studies that suggest use of topical sunscreen preparations is associated with increased risk of malignant melanoma.
Methods: We pooled data from observational studies using a general variance-based meta-analytic method that employed confidence intervals (previously described). The outcome of interest was a summary relative risk (RR) reflecting the risk of melanoma associated with sunscreen use versus nonuse. Sensitivity analyses were performed when necessary to explain any observed statistical heterogeneity.
Results: Combining studies that used non-heterogeneous data yielded a summary RR of 1.01, indicating no association between sunscreen use and development of malignant melanoma.
Conclusions: The available epidemiological data do not support the existence of a relationship between topical sunscreen use and an increased risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma.