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Dermatology Research and Practice
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 659394, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Serum Fatty Acids and Risk of Cutaneous Melanoma: A Population-Based Case-Control Study

1Departments of Diagnostic, Clinical and Public Health Medicine, Environmental, Genetic and Nutritional Epidemiology Research Center (CREAGEN), University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Padiglione De Sanctis, Via Amendola 2, 42122 Reggio Emilia, Italy
2Department of Biostatistics, University of California Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, USA
3Epidemiology and Prevention Unit, National Cancer Institute, Via Venezian 1, 20133 Milan, Italy
4Department of Surgery, Medicine, Odontoiatrics and Morphological Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via del Pozzo 71, 41124 Modena, Italy

Received 17 September 2012; Accepted 6 January 2013

Academic Editor: D. J. Tobin

Copyright © 2013 Marco Vinceti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Some observational studies have suggested that excess dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid increases cutaneous melanoma risk. We aimed at examining the association between serum fatty acids and melanoma risk by conducting a population-based case-control study in a northern Italy community. Methods. The percentage composition of 12 fatty acids was determined in 51 newly diagnosed melanoma patients and 51 age- and sex-matched population controls by extracting total lipids from serum samples using thin layer and gas chromatography. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate the relative risk of melanoma associated with tertiles of percentage composition of each fatty acid as well as groupings including saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Results. We found a slightly increased melanoma risk for stearic and arachidic acids proportion, with and without adjustment for potential confounders. For an n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, docosapentaenoic acid, we found a male-specific direct association with melanoma risk. No other associations emerged for the other saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, individually or grouped by type. Conclusions. These findings do not suggest a major role of fatty acids, including linoleic acid, on risk of cutaneous melanoma, though their evaluation is limited by the small sample size.