Hormonal exposures and the risk of uveal melanoma

Cancer Causes Control. 2010 Oct;21(10):1625-34. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9591-9. Epub 2010 Jun 4.


Objectives: Several studies suggest that hormonal mechanisms may be associated with the development of uveal melanoma. Therefore, the association between the risk of uveal melanoma and exposure to hormonal exposures was investigated in a case-control study from nine European countries.

Methods: Incident cases of uveal melanoma were frequency-matched to population and hospital controls by country, age, and sex. Female subjects were asked about their reproductive history, use of menopausal hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives. Among men, occupational handling of oils while working with transformers or capacitors which contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) was solicited. Unconditional logistic regression analyses were calculated, adjusting for several potential confounders. Analyses were stratified by sex.

Results: Two hundred and ninety-three cases (165 men, 128 women) and 3,198 control subjects (2,121 men, 1,077 women) were interviewed. Among women, no associations were observed with hormonal status variables, intake of hormonal therapy or intake of oral contraceptives. Men showed an increased risk with occupational exposure to transformer/capacitor oils (OR = 2.74; Bonferroni-corrected 99.3% CI 1.07-7.02). However, these results were based on few exposed subjects only.

Conclusion: The results of this study do not support the hypothesis of a hormonal influence in the carcinogenesis of uveal melanoma. Our finding of a potentially increased risk with PCB-containing oils requires further research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Melanoma / epidemiology
  • Melanoma / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Parity
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Uveal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uveal Neoplasms / etiology


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls

Supplementary concepts

  • Uveal melanoma