Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology

, Volume 143, Issue 7, pp 1191–1197 | Cite as

Role of BMI and hormone therapy in melanoma risk: a case–control study

  • Vincenzo De GiorgiEmail author
  • Alessia Gori
  • Imma Savarese
  • Antonietta D’Errico
  • Federica Scarfì
  • Federica Papi
  • Vincenza Maio
  • Piero Covarelli
  • Daniela Massi
  • Sara Gandini
Original Article – Cancer Research



Currently, the association between body mass index (BMI) and hormone therapies and Cutaneous Melanoma (CM) development is strongly debated. This study was carried out to assess the association between BMI, hormone therapies, and CM risk.


The present study is a hospital-based case–control study with 605 consecutive CM patients and 592 controls treated for non-neoplastic conditions at the Department of Dermatology in Florence. The associations of melanoma risk with BMI and hormone therapies were assessed performing unconditional logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals, adjusting for potential confounders.


We found a significant interaction of BMI with age (P < 0.0001): being overweight significantly increased CM risk among individuals less than 50 years old (OR = 1.85 with 95% CI 1.14–2.94), whereas the association was not significant for individuals over 50 years old (OR = 1.15 with 95% CI 0.77–1.71). For oestrogen therapy, women taking oral contraceptives (OCs)/hormone replacement therapy (HRT) showed a lower CM risk than men (OR = 0.63, 95% CI 0.44–0.89), with risk estimates significantly lower (P < 0.0001) than in non OCs/HRT users, which had an increased risk compared to men (OR = 1.81, 95% CI 1.29–2.53).


Being overweight was significantly associated with CM risk, and this relationship was highly age-conditioned; the second finding was the protective effect of oestrogen therapies for women. Both findings may have a significant impact on melanoma prevention, as the prevalence of obesity and hormone therapy use is increasing worldwide.


Cutaneous melanoma Body mass index Overweight status Hormone therapies Age 



Cutaneous melanoma


Non-melanoma skin cancer


Oral contraceptives


Hormone replacement therapy


Body mass index


Odds ratio


Confidence interval


Oestrogen receptors


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Vincenzo De Giorgi declares that he has no conflict of interest. Alessia Gori declares that she has no conflict of interest. Imma Savarese declares that she has no conflict of interest. Antonietta D’Errico declares that she has no conflict of interest. Federica Scarfi declares that she has no conflict of interest. Federica Papi declares that she has no conflict of interest. Vincenza Maio declares that she has no conflict of interest. Piero Covarelli declares that he has no conflict of interest. Daniela Massi declares that she has no conflict of interest. Sara Gandini declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincenzo De Giorgi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alessia Gori
    • 2
  • Imma Savarese
    • 1
  • Antonietta D’Errico
    • 1
  • Federica Scarfì
    • 1
  • Federica Papi
    • 1
  • Vincenza Maio
    • 3
  • Piero Covarelli
    • 4
  • Daniela Massi
    • 3
  • Sara Gandini
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Cancer Research “Attilia Pofferi” FoundationPistoiaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Human Pathology and OncologyUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  4. 4.Department of DermatologyUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  5. 5.Division of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsEuropean Institute of OncologyMilanItaly

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