Anthropometric factors and risk of melanoma in women: a pooled analysis

Int J Cancer. 2008 Mar 1;122(5):1100-8. doi: 10.1002/ijc.23214.


Anthropometric factors such as height, weight and body mass index are related to the occurrence of certain malignancies in women including cancers of the breast, ovary and endometrium. Several studies have investigated the relation between height and weight or body mass and the risk of cutaneous melanoma in women, but results have been inconsistent. We conducted a collaborative analysis of these factors using the original data from 8 case-control studies of melanoma in women (2,083 cases and 2,782 controls), with assessment of the potential confounding effects of socioeconomic, pigmentary and sun exposure-related factors. Women in the highest quartile of height had an increased risk of melanoma [pooled odds ratio (pOR) 1.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-1.6]. We also found an elevated risk associated with weight gain in adult life of 2 kg or more (pOR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1-2.0). Stratifying by age at melanoma diagnosis (<50, >or=50 yr), we found this risk greater among women <50 yr of age. Associations were unaffected by adjustment for other known risk factors for melanoma. There was no evidence that the effects varied for different histologic subtypes of cutaneous melanoma. There was no association with body weight per se, body mass index, or body surface area, either recent or in young adulthood. In aggregate, data from these studies suggest that greater height and weight gain may be risk factors for cutaneous melanoma in women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry*
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*