Melanocytic naevi in sun-exposed and protected skin in melanoma patients and controls.
Augustsson A, Stierner U, Rosdahl I, Suurküla M
The possible link between exposure to ultraviolet light and naevus development was studied in 121 melanoma patients and 310 controls by comparing the number of naevi in a sun-exposed area on the back with that in a sun-protected area on the buttocks. Both patients and controls had a four-fold increase in the number of naevi in the exposed compared with the protected area, p less than 0.001. The difference in naevus count between the exposed and the protected area was larger in patients than in controls, p less than 0.001. Subjects with dysplastic naevi, melanoma patients as well as controls, had a larger difference in the number of naevi between the two areas than subjects without dysplastic naevi, p less than 0.001. These results support the idea that sunlight plays an important role in naevus development and may explain why a high naevus count is a risk marker for malignant melanoma.