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Is the Presence of Nevi on Extremities a Risk Factor for Melanoma and Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers?

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Key Points

  • The presence of an extremity nevus was associated with increased risk of melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.
  • Patients with 15 or more nevi had the highest of melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.
  • There was no significant association between nevi count and incidence of squamous cell carcinoma.

The presence of nevi is an established risk factor for melanoma. In light of this, researchers examined the association between the presence of nevi on extremities and the risk of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. Their findings were published by Wei et al in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Background

Researchers examined cohorts of 176,317 women (from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Nurses’ Health Study 2) and 32,383 men (from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study). Nevus count on the extremity was collected at baseline and classified into one of four groups: none; 1–5, 6–14; and 15 or more.

Findings

In all patients studied, there were 1,704 cases of melanoma; 2,296 cases of squamous cell carcinoma; and 30,457 cases of basal cell carcinoma. The presence of an extremity nevus was associated with increased risk of melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. Patients with 15 or more nevi had the highest of melanoma and basal cell carcinoma (melanoma hazard ratio = 2.79; 95% confidence interval 2.04–3.83; basal cell carcinoma hazard ratio = 1.40; 95% confidence interval 1.32–1.49). There was no significant association between nevi count and incidence of squamous cell carcinoma.

The study authors concluded, “Extremity nevus count is a helpful clinical marker in risk-stratifying individuals for basal cell carcinoma and melanoma on all body sites.”

Disclosure: The study authors' full disclosures can be found at jaad.org.

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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