Heterogeneity in host risk factors for incident melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer in a cohort of US women

Abrar A. Qureshi, Mingfeng Zhang, Jiali Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Background: Melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are 3 types of skin cancer that have distinct biologic characteristics and prognoses. We evaluated phenotypic differences in the risk of these cancers in US women. Methods: We conducted a prospective study of 113 139 female nurses from 1984 to 2002. Over the 18 years of follow-up, there were 375 cases of melanoma, 495 cases of SCC, and 9423 cases of BCC. Results: Women with melanoma were more likely to have a family history of melanoma (melanoma: RR 1.94, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.36-2.76; SCC: RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.58-1.37; BCC: RR 1.49, 95% CI 1.38-1.62) and 6 or more moles on the left arm (melanoma: RR 3.66, 95% CI 2.15-6.24; SCC: RR 1.53, 95% CI 0.83-2.79; BCC: RR 1.48, 95% CI 1.28-1.72). Polytomous logistic regression analysis showed that age at diagnosis (P < 0.0001), family history of melanoma (P = 0.016), and number of moles on the left arm (P = 0.007) were significantly different across the 3 cancers. Conclusions: This prospective observational study demonstrated that known phenotypic factors for skin cancer have a differential impact on the risk of melanoma, SCC, and BCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 30 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma
  • Phenotype
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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