Male pattern baldness and risk of incident skin cancer in a cohort of men

Wen Qing Li, Eunyoung Cho, Jiali Han, Martin A. Weinstock, Abrar A. Qureshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


We examined the association between male-pattern baldness and risk of incident skin cancer, including invasive melanoma, invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) in a prospective analysis, based on 36,032 participants from the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study. In 1992, participants reported their status of male-pattern baldness at age 45 years by choosing from five crown-view pictograms based on Norwood's classification. Diagnosis of skin cancers was reported biennially and information on melanoma and SCC was pathologically confirmed. We identified 327 melanoma cases, 1324 SCC cases, and 8438 BCC cases during the follow-up. Male-pattern baldness was not significantly associated with risk of incident melanoma, but was significantly associated with increased risk of SCC and BCC. The multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) (95% confidence interval, CI) for the highest category of baldness (frontal plus severe vertex baldness) was 1.33 (1.06–1.68) for SCC (ptrend = 0.001) and 1.23 (1.12–1.35) for BCC (ptrend < 0.0001), compared with no baldness. Analyses by body sites found significant associations between frontal plus moderate to severe vertex baldness and risk of melanoma (HR = 1.83, 95% CI: 1.01–3.34) and SCC (HR = 1.30, 95% CI: 1.02–1.66) at head and neck. The associations were particularly stronger for scalp melanoma (HR = 7.15, 95% CI: 1.29–39.42) and scalp SCC (HR = 7.09, 95% CI: 3.84–13.08), but not for non-scalp head and neck sites. Information on body sites was not available for BCC. In conclusion, male pattern baldness may be associated with increased risk of skin cancer, but the associations may only exist for those occurring at head and neck, particularly at scalp.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2671-2678
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • basal cell carcinoma
  • head and neck
  • male pattern baldness
  • melanoma
  • scalp
  • squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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