Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 103–107 | Cite as

Ultraviolet Radiation at Places of Residence and the Development of Melanocytic Nevi in Children (Australia)

  • Dallas R. English
  • Elizabeth Milne
  • Julie A. Simpson
Original Paper


Objective To investigate the relationship between ambient ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure and number of melanocytic nevi in children.

Methods A longitudinal study of nevi was conducted in 1614 children in Perth, Australia. Children had nevi counted on the back, face and arms at ages 6, 10, and 12 years. Erythemally effective UV irradiance was used to estimate ambient exposure from their places of residence before entry to the study at age 6 years. Data on UV radiation were derived from satellite measurements of ozone and atmospheric reflectivity.

Results At baseline, the response rate was 70%. At age 10, 90% of those recruited had nevus counts and at age 12, 69%. Children who had migrated to Perth from geographical locations with higher erythemal irradiance had, on average, 1.34 (95% confidence interval, 1.16–1.54) times as many nevi on the back at age 6, 1.29 (1.13–1.49) as many at age 10 and 1.10 (0.92–1.30) times as many at age 12. No significant associations were seen for the face or arms.

Conclusion Ambient solar UV exposure in early childhood is positively associated with number of nevi and nevi develop soon after exposure to sunlight.


Nevus Pigmented Sunlight Ultraviolet rays Child Melanoma 


  1. 1.
    Armstrong, BK, English, DR 1988

    The epidemiology of acquired melanocytic naevi and their relationship to malignant melanoma

    MacKie, RM eds. Pigment CellS. KargerBasel2747
    Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Green, A, Sorahan, T, Pope, D,  et al. 1988Moles in Australian and British school children [letter]Lancet21497PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fritschi, L, McHenry, P, Green, A, Mackie, R, Green, L, Siskind, V 1994Naevi in schoolchildren in Scotland and AustraliaBr J Dermatol130599603PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kelly, JW, Rivers, JK, MacLennan, R, Harrison, S, Lewis, AE, Tate, BJ 1994Sunlight: a major factor associated with the development of melanocytic nevi in Australian schoolchildrenJ Am Acad Dermatol304048PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Harrison, SL, MacKie, RM, MacLennan, R 2000Development of melanocytic nevi in the first three years of lifeJ Natl Cancer Inst9214361438PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    English, DR, Armstrong, BK 1994Melanocytic nevi in children. II. Observer variation in counting neviAm J Epidemiol139402407PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    McKinlay, AF, Diffey, BL 1987A reference action spectrum for ultraviolet induced erythema in human skinCIE J61722Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Reeve, VR, Ley, RD 2004

    Animal models of ultraviolet radiation-induced skin cancer

    Hill, DElwood, JMEnglish, DR eds. Prevention of Skin CancerKluwer Academic PublishersDordrecht177194
    Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Madronich S, Mayer B, Fischer C. Climatology of erythemal ultraviolet radiation, 1979–92 [database on the internet]. National Center for Atmospheric Research, 2000. Retrieved from on 11 January 2005
  10. 10.
    Solomon, CC, White, E, Kristal, AR, Vaughan, T 2004Melanoma and lifetime UV radiationCancer Causes Control15893902PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Milne, E, English, DR, Cross, D, Corti, B, Costa, C, Johnston, R 1999Evaluation of an intervention to reduce sun exposure in children: design and baseline resultsAm J Epidemiol150164173PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Falling Rain Genomics Inc. Global Gazetteer Version 2.1. 2004. Retrieved from on 11 January 2005
  13. 13.
    Madronich, S 1993

    UV radiation in the natural and perturbed atmosphere

    Tevini, M eds. Environmental Effects of UV (Ultraviolet) RadiationLewisBoca Raton1769
    Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    English, DR, MacLennan, R, Rivers, JK, Kelly, J 1990Epidemiological Studies of Melanocytic Naevi: Protocol For Identifying and Recording NaeviInternational Agency for Research on CancerLyonReport No.: 90/002Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Udelhofen, PM, Gies, P, Roy, C, Randel, WJ 1999Surface UV radiation over Australia, 1979–1992. Effects of ozone and cloud cover changes on variations of UV radiationJ Geophys Res1041913519159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Setlow, RB, Grist, E, Thompson, K, Woodhead, AD 1993Wavelengths effective in induction of malignant melanomaProc Natl Acad Sci USA9066666670PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Robinson, ES, Hill, RH,Jr, Kripke, ML, Setlow, RB 2000The Monodelphis melanoma model: initial report on large ultraviolet A exposures of suckling youngPhotochem Photobiol71743746PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Robinson, ES, Hubbard, GB, Colon, G, Vandeberg, JL 1998Low-dose ultraviolet exposure early in development can lead to widespread melanoma in the opossum modelInt J Exp Pathol79235224PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ley, RD 2001Dose response for ultraviolet radiation A-induced focal melanocytic hyperplasia and nonmelanoma skin tumors in Monodelphis domesticaPhotochem Photobiol732023PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Milne, E, Johnston, R, Cross, D, Giles-Corti, B, English, DR 2002Effect of a school-based sun-protection intervention on the development of melanocytic nevi in childrenAm J Epidemiol155739745PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    English, DR, Milne, E, Jacoby, P, Giles-Corti, B, Cross, D, Johnston, R 2005The effect of a school-based sun protection intervention on the development of melanocytic nevi in children: 6-year follow-upCancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev14977980PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Dennis, LK, White, E, McKnight, B, Kristal, A, Lee, JA, Odland, P 1996Nevi and migration within the United States and Canada: a population-based cross-sectional studyCancer Causes Control7464473PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Armstrong, BK, Klerk, NH, Holman, CD 1986Etiology of common acquired melanocytic nevi: constitutional variables, sun exposure, and dietJ Natl Cancer Inst77329335PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Carli, P, Naldi, L, Lovati, S, La Vecchia, C 2002The density of melanocytic nevi correlates with constitutional variables and history of sunburns: a prevalence study among Italian schoolchildrenInt J Cancer101375379PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Whiteman, DC, Whiteman, CA, Green, AC 2001Childhood sun exposure as a risk factor for melanoma: a systematic review of epidemiologic studiesCancer Causes Control126982PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dallas R. English
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Milne
    • 3
  • Julie A. Simpson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Cancer Epidemiology CentreThe Cancer Council VictoriaCarltonAustralia
  2. 2.School of Population HealthThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health ResearchThe University of Western AustraliaAustralia

Personalised recommendations