An addition to the controversy on sunlight exposure and melanoma risk: a meta-analytical approach

J Clin Epidemiol. 1995 Nov;48(11):1331-42. doi: 10.1016/0895-4356(95)00032-1.


Case control studies on the association between sunlight exposure and melanoma risk show considerable differences in design; this could be responsible for the variation in study results. In an attempt to resolve the controversy between study results, the results of 25 publications on case control studies were evaluated using meta-analytical techniques. Comparison of odds ratios between subgroups of studies revealed that the range of odds ratios was far greater for hospital-based studies than for population-based studies. For the latter type of studies, the odds ratios were homogeneous and the pooled odds ratios were 1.57 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.29-1.91) for intermittent sunlight exposure and 0.73 (95% CI, 0.60-0.89) for chronic exposure. However, among other problems, the lack of standardized measures for sunlight exposure warrants cautious interpretation of these results. It is concluded that evidence to support the intermittent sunlight theory is still far from complete.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / etiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Population Surveillance
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Sunlight / adverse effects*