Malignant melanoma (MM) is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Adult anthropometry influences MM development; however, associations between childhood body size and future melanomagenesis are largely unknown. We investigated whether height, body mass index (BMI; weight (kg)/height (m)2), and body surface area (BSA) at ages 7-13 years and birth weight are associated with adult MM. Data from the Copenhagen School Health Records Register, containing annual height and weight measurements of 372,636 Danish children born in 1930-1989, were linked with the Danish Cancer Registry. Cox regression analyses were performed. During follow-up, 2,329 MM cases occurred. Height at ages 7-13 years was significantly associated with MM, even after BMI and BSA adjustments. No significant BMI-MM or BSA-MM associations were detected when adjusting for height. Children who were persistently tall at both age 7 years and age 13 years had a significantly increased MM risk compared with children who grew taller between those ages. Birth weight was positively associated with MM. We conclude that associations between body size and MM originate early in life and are driven largely by height and birth weight, without any comparable influence of BMI or BSA. Melanoma transformation is unlikely to be due to height per se; however, height-regulating processes in childhood present new areas for mechanistic explorations of this disease.
American Journal of Epidemiology, 2017, Vol 185, Issue 8, p. 673-680
Adolescent; Adult; Age Factors; Birth Weight; Body Height; Body Mass Index; Body Size; Body Surface Area; Child; Denmark; Female; Humans; Male; Melanoma; Proportional Hazards Models; Registries; Risk Factors; Skin Neoplasms; Journal Article