Link Between Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and Melanoma, Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers

Key Points

  • There was a significantly decreased risk of subsequent Alzheimer’s disease in patients with malignant melanoma.
  • There was also a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in patients with BCC or SCC.

Although literature demonstrates a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease in individuals with various cancers—including squamous cell cancers (SCC) and basal cell cancers (BCC)—there is a paucity of literature to substantiate an association between malignant melanoma and Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study by Ibler et al in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology aimed to determine whether an association exists between melanoma and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as between nonmelanoma skin cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.

Study Methods

A large, urban, Midwestern U.S., single-center medical record data repository was searched between January 2001 and December 2015, to identify all patients aged ≥ 60 and < 89 years with a clinic follow-up of at least 1 year and no diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease, malignant melanoma, or a nonmelanoma skin cancer at the time of the study entry. Data collected included age, gender, race, and duration of follow-up.

Melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers, as well as incident diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, were detected by ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes. Logistic regression analysis was utilized to obtain crude and adjusted odds ratios (ORs).

Study Findings

Data for a total of 82,925 patients with known race and gender were detected. After adjusting for confounding factors (race, gender, age, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, and diabetes), there was a significantly decreased risk of subsequent Alzheimer’s disease in patients with malignant melanoma (OR = 0.39; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.16–0.96; P = .042) as well as in patients with BCC (OR = 0.18; 95% CI = 0.08–0.45; P < .0001) and in patients with SCC (OR = 0.08; 95% CI = 0.01–0.56; P = .013).

These findings add to the growing body of evidence for a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in patients with various cancers and highlight the need for ongoing research into this apparent association.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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