Women with fair phenotypes seem to confer a survival advantage in a low UV milieu. A nested matched case control study

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Abstract

Background Sun exposure in combination with skin pigmentation is the main determinant for vitamin D status. Human skin color seems to be adapted and optimized for regional sun ultraviolet (UV) intensity. However, we do not know if fair, UV-sensitive skin is a survival advantage in regions with low UV radiation. Methods A population-based nested case-control study of 29,518 Caucasian women, ages 25 to 64 years from Southern Sweden who responded to a questionnaire regarding risk-factors for malignant melanoma in 1990 and followed for 25 years. For each fair woman, defined as having red hair or freckles (n = 11,993), a control was randomly selected from all non-fair women from within the cohort of similar age, smoking habits, education, marital status, income, and comorbidity, i.e., 11,993 pairs. The main outcome was the difference in allcause mortality between fair and non-fair women in a low UV milieu, defined as living in Sweden and having low-to-moderate sun exposure habits. Secondary outcomes were mortality by sun exposure, and among those non-overweight. Results In a low UV milieu, fair women were at a significantly lower all-cause mortality risk as compared to non-fair women (log rank test p = 0.04) with an 8% lower all-cause mortality rate (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.92, 95% CI 0.84-1.0), including a 59% greater risk of dying from skin cancer among fair women (HR 1.59, 95% CI 1.26-2.0). Thus, it seem that the beneficial health effect from low skin coloration outweigh the risk of skin cancer at high latitudes. Conclusion In a region with low UV milieu, evolution seems to improve all-cause survival by selecting a fair skin phenotype, i.e., comprising fair women with a survival advantage.

Detaljer

Författare
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Karolinska Institute
  • Karolinska University Hospital
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Harvard University
Forskningsområden

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi
Originalspråkengelska
Artikelnummere0228582
TidskriftPLoS ONE
Volym15
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2020
PublikationskategoriForskning
Peer review utfördJa