Association of UV index, latitude, and melanoma incidence in nonwhite populations--US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, 1992 to 2001

Arch Dermatol. 2005 Apr;141(4):477-81. doi: 10.1001/archderm.141.4.477.


Objective: To estimate the association between UV index, latitude, and melanoma incidence in different racial and ethnic populations in a high-quality national data set.

Design: Descriptive study.

Setting: Eleven US cancer registries that constitute the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER-11).

Patients: Patients with malignant melanoma of the skin reported between 1992 and 2001.

Main outcome measures: Pearson correlation coefficients and regression coefficients were used to estimate the relationship of age-adjusted melanoma incidence rates (2000 US standard population) with the UV index or latitude within racial and ethnic groups.

Results: A higher mean UV index was significantly associated with an increase in melanoma incidence only in non-Hispanic whites (r = 0.85, P = .001), although a nonsignificant association was noted in Native Americans (r = 0.42, P = .20). Negative, but not significant, correlations with incidence were observed in blacks (r = -0.53, P = .10), Hispanics (r = -0.43, P = .19), and Asians (r = -0.28, P = .41). Latitude also had a significant correlation with incidence only in non-Hispanic whites (r = -0.85, P = .001). A substantial portion of the variance in registry incidence in non-Hispanic whites could be explained by the UV index (R(2) = 0.71, P = .001).

Conclusions: Melanoma incidence is associated with increased UV index and lower latitude only in non-Hispanic whites. No evidence to support the association of UV exposure and melanoma incidence in black or Hispanic populations was found.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Altitude
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Melanoma / diagnosis
  • Melanoma / ethnology*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Probability
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • SEER Program
  • Sex Distribution
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data