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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas