, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 464-473

Nevi and migration within the United States and Canada: a population-based cross-sectional study

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A survey to ascertain factors associated with benign melanocytic nevi or moles was conducted among randomly-selected White adults (aged 18 to 50 years) in Washington State (United States). Participants of the telephone interview in 1990–91 were questioned about lifetime places of residence and constitutional factors. Subjects counted raised nevi on their arms at the end of the survey. Logistic regression was used to examine the risk for two or more nevi compared with no nevi. Individuals who resided in warmer areas and lower latitudes than Washington State were at higher risk of having multiple nevi. This association held for residence at birth, during childhood, adolescence, and over lifetime: an odds ratio (OR) of 2.3 (95 percent confidence interval =1.2–4.3) for lifetime average daily maximum temperature of ≥64°F compared with 58.9°F, and similar ORs of 2.1 for adolescence and 1.8 for childhood. These associations remained significant after adjusting for potential confounding effects of constitutional factors and for childhood sunburns as a potential mechanism. Risk of multiple nevi was reduced for both early age at migration and longer duration of stay in Washington. These data are consistent with the importance of childhood and adolescent sun exposure in the etiology of nevi, but also suggest an effect of lifetime sun exposure.

This research was supported by US Public Health Service grant CA 34847 from the National Cancer Institute.