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July 2006

Red Hairs, Number of Nevi, and Risk of Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma: Results From a Case-Control Study in Italy

Luigi Naldi, MD; Giorgia Randi, ScD; Anna Di Landro, MD; et al Carlo La Vecchia, MD; Oncology Study Group of the Italian Group for Epidemiologic Research in Dermatology (GISED)
Arch Dermatol. 2006;142(7):927-947. doi:10.1001/archderm.142.7.935

Red-haired subjects have increased risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM). A meta-analysis of 46 epidemiologic studies published before September 2002 reports that red-haired subjects were at higher risk of melanoma than dark-haired ones, the pooled relative risk being 3.64 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.56-5.37).1 Higher nevus count is another well-established risk factor for CMM, regardless of hair color; however, Dellavalle et al2 report that red-haired children had fewer nevi than children with other hair colors (mean count, 2.1 vs 6.1). Thus, the risk of CMM in red-haired subjects seems to be associated with some factor other than nevus count.

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