Spatially Derived Risk Factors for Cutaneous Melanoma

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Thursday, August 4, 2016
Marvin Langston
Journal Title: 
PhD Thesis

Intermittent sun exposure and sun sensitivity factors are the most well described risk factors for the development of cutaneous melanoma (CM). Other potential environmental risks for CM, such as arsenic, are rarely examined. Total sun exposure has not been a consistent risk factor for CM, but recall bias in self-reporting sun exposure throughout life may limit the ability to detect a true association. Objective measures of sun exposure including remotely sensed ambient ultra-violet radiation (UVR) may allow for better capture of total sun exposure. In three chapters, spatially derived factors (ambient UVR, environmental soil arsenic, drinking water arsenic) were observed to determine their relevance in exposure assessment and subsequent risk for CM.UVR trends were investigated using available satellite data (1978-2014) to generate inferences for UVB changes over time in the United States. We found that UVB changed across the study area, but these changes lack biological relevance based on the magnitude of changes observed. Thus, a more objective measure of lifetime ambient sun exposure may be estimated using 30-year average UVR by month in future studies. The spatial correlation between environmental soil arsenic and drinking water across the state of Iowa was investigated. Arsenic concentrations in soil were not significantly spatially correlated with either municipal public water source or non-municipal water source arsenic concentrations. Based on these findings, soil arsenic may not serve as a valid surrogate marker for arsenic in drinking water.In Chapter 5, we assessed the relationship of spatially derived estimates of lifetime ambient UVR, environmental arsenic exposure from soil and drinking water, and CM in a population-based case-control study. Our findings suggest that total sun exposure is positively associated with CM, while arsenic concentration in environmental soil and drinking water were not associated. Sun exposure measured through ambient UVR exposure may allow for better understanding of the association between cumulative or total sun exposure and CM. Additionally, more studies need to be completed to estimate the potential risks for CM in regions where high arsenic concentrations may not be endemic.


Langston, Marvin Epolian. "Spatially Derived Risk Factors for Cutaneous Melanoma." (2016).