Cutaneous malignant melanoma in women. Phenotypic characteristics, sun exposure, and hormonal factors: a case-control study from Italy

Ann Epidemiol. 2005 Aug;15(7):545-50. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2004.10.005.


Purpose: We examined the role of personal host characteristics in relation to cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) among women, with a particular focus on hormonal and reproductive factors.

Methods: A case-control study conducted in Italy between 1992 and 1994, including 316 women with incident, histologically confirmed CMM and 308 controls, admitted to the same network of hospitals as cases for acute, non-dermatological, and non-neoplastic conditions.

Results: CMM was significantly associated with body mass index (kg/m(2)) (odds ratio [OR]=1.96 for > or =27 compared with < 23) and body surface area (m(2)) (OR=1.68 for > or =1.71 compared with < 1.59), eye color (OR=1.74 for green/hazel compared with brown), solar lentigines (OR=1.47), and number of melanocytic nevi (OR=3.39 for total number of nevi > or =16 compared with < 5). Age at first (OR=2.69 for > or =27 compared with < 23 years) and last birth (OR=2.13 for > or =31 compared with < 27 years) were associated with the risk of CMM, whereas other reproductive, menstrual, and hormonal factors, including menopause, number of live-births and abortions, use of oral contraceptives, and hormone replacement therapy were not significantly associated.

Conclusions: Our results confirm findings from previous studies on the role of major recognized risk factors for CMM, and add further evidence of an absence of a consistent association between hormonal and reproductive factors and CMM risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hormones
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Melanoma / epidemiology*
  • Melanoma / etiology
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Menstruation
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Reproduction
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Sunlight / adverse effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Hormones