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Fish intake and risk of melanoma in the NIH-AARP diet and health study



Prior epidemiological studies evaluating the association between fish intake and melanoma risk have been few and inconsistent. Few studies distinguished different types of fish intake with risk of melanoma.


We examined the associations between intake of total fish and specific types of fish and risk of melanoma among 491,367 participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. We used multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


During 6,611,941 person-years of follow-up with a median of 15.5 years, 5,034 cases of malignant melanoma and 3,284 cases of melanoma in situ were identified. There was a positive association between higher total fish intake and risk of malignant melanoma (HR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.11–1.34 for top vs. bottom quintiles, ptrend = 0.001) and melanoma in situ (HR = 1.28, CI = 1.13–1.44 for top vs. bottom quintiles, ptrend = 0.002). The positive associations were consistent across several demographic and lifestyle factors. There were also positive associations between tuna intake and non-fried fish intake, and risk of malignant melanoma and melanoma in situ. However, fried fish intake was inversely associated with risk of malignant melanoma, but not melanoma in situ.


We found that higher total fish intake, tuna intake, and non-fried fish intake were positively associated with risk of both malignant melanoma and melanoma in situ. Future studies are needed to investigate the potential biological mechanisms underlying these associations.

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The supporting data is available upon request.


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This work was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute. Cancer incidence data from the Atlanta metropolitan area were collected by the Georgia Center for Cancer Statistics, Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Cancer incidence data from California were collected by the California Cancer Registry, California Department of Public Health’s Cancer Surveillance and Research Branch, Sacramento, California. Cancer incidence data from the Detroit metropolitan area were collected by the Michigan Cancer Surveillance Program, Community Health Administration, Lansing, Michigan. The Florida cancer incidence data used in this report were collected by the Florida Cancer Data System (FCDC; Miami, Florida) under contract with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), Tallahassee, Florida. The views expressed herein are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the FCDC or FDOH. Cancer incidence data from Louisiana were collected by the Louisiana Tumor Registry, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Public Health, New Orleans, Louisiana. Cancer incidence data from New Jersey were collected by the New Jersey State Cancer Registry, Cancer Epidemiology Services, New Jersey State Department of Health, Trenton, New Jersey. Cancer incidence data from North Carolina were collected by the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry, Raleigh, North Carolina. Cancer incidence data from Pennsylvania were supplied by the Division of Health Statistics and Research, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Health specifically disclaims responsibility for any analyses, interpretations, or conclusions. Cancer incidence data from Arizona were collected by the Arizona Cancer Registry, Division of Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services, Phoenix, Arizona. Cancer incidence data from Texas were collected by the Texas Cancer Registry, Cancer Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas. Cancer incidence data from Nevada were collected by the Nevada Central Cancer Registry, State Health Division, State of Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Las Vegas, Nevada. We are indebted to the participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study for their outstanding cooperation. We also thank Sigurd Hermansen and Kerry Grace Morrissey from Westat for study outcomes ascertainment and management and Leslie Carroll at Information Management Services for data support and analysis.


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Li, Y., Liao, L.M., Sinha, R. et al. Fish intake and risk of melanoma in the NIH-AARP diet and health study. Cancer Causes Control 33, 921–928 (2022).

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  • Melanoma
  • Fish intake
  • AARP
  • Survival analyses