Incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma has continued to rise despite public efforts to promote sun protection behaviors among populations at risk. However, dietary factors may also affect the development of melanoma. In the past few decades, findings from epidemiologic and experimental research have linked consumption of several foods and other nutrients to the risk of melanoma. Caffeine has been associated with a lower risk of melanoma, and citrus fruits and alcohol with increased risk. Associations between polyunsaturated fatty acid, niacin/nicotinamide, folate, and Vitamin D with melanoma remain controversial. Diet likely influences melanoma development through several potential mechanisms, such as enhancing UV-induced apoptosis and increasing photosensitivity. We conducted a narrative review to summarize recent epidemiologic studies of diet and melanoma based on published literature. Given the high prevalence of the food items and nutrients covered in this review and the decades-long rising melanoma incidence worldwide, the associations we discuss may have important public health implications in terms of reducing melanoma incidence through dietary modification.
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