Journal Article

Instrumental Measurements of Skin Color and Skin Ultraviolet Light Sensitivity and Risk of Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma: A Case-Control Study in an Italian Population

Alina V. Brenner, Jay H. Lubin, Donato Calista and Maria Teresa Landi

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 156, issue 4, pages 353-362
Published in print August 2002 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online August 2002 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwf045
Instrumental Measurements of Skin Color and Skin Ultraviolet Light Sensitivity and Risk of Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma: A Case-Control Study in an Italian Population

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The authors evaluated objective measurements of constitutive skin color and ultraviolet light sensitivity in relation to risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM). Incident CMM cases (n = 183) were diagnosed between December 1994 and January 1999 at the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, Italy. Controls (n = 179) were mostly spouses/partners of cases and were frequency-matched by age and sex. In addition to interviews, constitutive skin color and skin ultraviolet light sensitivity were assessed by colorimetry and minimal erythema dose (MED), respectively. Odds ratios were estimated using unconditional logistic regression. The odds of CMM increased by a factor of 1.20 (95 percent confidence interval: 1.12, 1.30) for each unit of skin brightness and by a factor of 1.24 (95 percent confidence interval: 1.07, 1.43) per 10 mJ/cm2 of MED. These associations were largely independent of phenotypic or sun-related characteristics and were modified by sun exposure. Increased risk of CMM was observed only among subjects with the highest levels of sun exposure. Epidemiologic studies of CMM may benefit from the inclusion of colorimetric and MED measurements along with traditional risk factors to obtain more accurate, quantitative, and objective information.

Keywords: case-control studies; colorimetry; epidemiologic methods; melanoma; risk factors; skin pigmentation; spectrophotometry, ultraviolet; ultraviolet rays; Abbreviations: CIELAB, Commission International d’Eclairge 1976 L*a*b* [colorimetric system]; CMM, cutaneous malignant melanoma; MED, minimal erythema dose.

Journal Article.  7294 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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