Diet and melanoma. An exploratory case-control study

Ann Epidemiol. 1993 May;3(3):235-8. doi: 10.1016/1047-2797(93)90024-x.


This population-based case-control study contrasted nutrient intakes of 41 women with cutaneous malignant melanoma to those of 297 women sampled from the same community (Brisbane, Australia). Diet was assessed by a comprehensive food frequency questionnaire. The strong inverse relation we observed between high intakes of polyunsaturated fatty acids and melanoma (P < 0.01) adds sufficient weight to prior findings for this persisting causal hypothesis to be abandoned. A relatively strong association with alcohol was observed: Women drinking 20 g or more (two or more drinks) daily had 2.5 (odds ratio) times the risk of melanoma as nondrinkers (95% confidence interval, 0.87 to 7.4). However, previous data are inconsistent. With regard to potential protective factors, our data fit with prior speculation that antioxidants (beta-carotene and vitamin E), zinc, and iron warrant further investigation. The nonsignificant (P = 0.18) 40% reduction in risk seen for those eating the most fish (> or = 15 g daily versus < 5 g) suggests the effects of marine oils and omega-3 fatty acids may deserve specific attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet* / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Dietary Fats