Red meat and fruit intake is prognostic among patients with localized cutaneous melanomas more than 1mm thick

Cancer Epidemiol. 2014 Oct;38(5):599-607. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2014.08.005. Epub 2014 Sep 5.


Background: As the 10-year mortality for localized cutaneous melanoma more than 1.00 mm thick approaches 40% following complete resection, non-therapeutic interventions that can supplement recommended active surveillance are needed. Although guidelines recommending nutrition, physical activity and tobacco cessation for cancer survivors have been published, data describing their associations with melanoma survivorship are lacking.

Methods: Analysis of modifiable lifestyle behaviors collected on the 249 cases with melanomas more than 1.00 mm thick enrolled in the Connecticut Case-Control Study of Skin Self-Examination study was conducted. Independent associations with melanoma-specific survival were evaluated through Cox proportional hazards modeling adjusting for age, gender, Breslow thickness, ulceration and the presence of microsatellites. Independently significant variables were then combined into a single model and backwards elimination was employed until all remaining variables were significant at p<0.05.

Results: Following adjustment for age, Breslow thickness and anatomic site of the index melanoma, daily fruit consumption was associated with improved melanoma-specific survival (HR=0.54; 95% CI: 0.34-0.86) whereas at least weekly red meat consumption was associated with worse outcomes (HR=1.84; 95% CI: 1.02-3.30). Natural red (HR=0.44; 95% CI: 0.22-0.88) or blond (HR=0.52; 95% CI: 0.29-0.94) hair were also favorably prognostic. Higher fish consumption was of borderline significance for improved survival only when considered independently (HR=0.65; 95% CI: 0.40-1.05); no association was seen following adjustment for red meat and fruit consumption (p>0.10).

Conclusions: Dietary choices at the time of diagnosis are associated with melanoma-specific survival in patients with melanomas more than 1.00 mm thick. Further validation of our findings in larger cohorts with repeated post-diagnostic measures is warranted to further evaluate whether dietary modification during the survivorship period can improve melanoma-specific survival.

Keywords: Alcohol use; Body mass index; Cutaneous melanoma; Fish; Fruit; Hair color; Mortality; Prognosis; Red meat; Smoking.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fruit
  • Hair Color / physiology
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Melanoma / epidemiology*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Survival Rate