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Research Questions Smoking-Melanoma Link

Study finds evidence of nonsignificant inverse association after adjustment for various factors

MONDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The inverse relationship between cigarette smoking and melanoma is not statistically significant after adjustment for factors including ultraviolet (UV) exposure and number of sunburns, according to a report in the January issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Maria C. Kessides, M.D., from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues looked at 82 patients diagnosed with melanoma as well as 164 control subjects who were matched to each patient by age, sex, race, and skin type. The researchers assessed whether an inverse association between cigarette smoking and melanoma exists after adjusting for UV exposure, skin type, and number of blistering sunburns.

After adjustments for UV exposure and sunburns, the researchers found that, compared with never smoking, both former smoking and current smoking were inversely associated with melanoma (odds ratios, 0.43 and 0.65, respectively). However, these relationships did not reach statistical significance.

"Even though the findings were not statistically significant, [the fact] that we observed evidence of an inverse association between cigarette smoking and the development of malignant melanoma even after carefully controlling for skin type, UV exposure history, and number of blistering sunburns suggests that previous reports of a potential inverse association may not have been a result of confounding by these important melanoma risk factors. The possibility that cigarette smoking is inversely associated with melanoma therefore cannot be ruled out," the authors write.

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