Hormonal and reproductive factors in relation to melanoma in women: Current review and meta-analysis

Sara Gandini, Simona Iodice, Els Koomen, Alessandra Di Pietro, Francesco Sera, Saverio Caini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A number of studies have focused on possible relationships between characteristics of female endocrine status and melanoma (CM) risk; however, the link between melanoma, oral contraceptive (OC) and hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) use, and reproductive factors remains controversial. A comprehensive, systematic bibliographic search of the medical literature was conducted to identify relevant studies. Random effects models were used to summarise results. Subgroup, meta-regression and sensitivity analyses have been carried out to explore sources of between-study variation and bias. We included thirty-six observational studies published in the last 30 years. Summarising a total of 5626 melanoma cases, we did not find any significant melanoma risk associated with OC and HRT use. Several reproductive factors were also investigated, summarising data on 16787 melanoma cases. We found a significantly increased melanoma risk for late age at first birth, and women with more than one child may be at a lower risk for melanoma; however, socio-economic confounders were found to play a significant role in explaining this association. This study confirmed no increased risk of CM with the use of oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy: exogenous female hormones do not contribute to an increased risk of CM. In contrast, significant associations of CM with parity and age at first pregnancy were observed in this meta-analysis finds and warrant further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2607-2617
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Education
  • Hormones
  • Melanoma
  • Menarche
  • Menopause
  • Meta-analysis
  • Oestrogens
  • Parity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Hormonal and reproductive factors in relation to melanoma in women: Current review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this