We conducted a case-control interview study among 1277 subjects (407 patients, 870 controls selected by using random digit dial) in 11 western United States to determine whether uveal melanoma and cutaneous melanoma shared common risk factors. After adjustment for other factors, the risk of uveal melanoma was increased for those with green, gray, or hazel eyes [relative risk (RR) = 2.5, P < 0.001] or blue eyes (RR = 2.2, P < 0.001) when compared to brown. A tendency to sunburn after 0.5 h midday summar sun exposure increased risk for uveal melanoma (burn with tanning RR = 1.5, P = 0.02; burn with little tanning RR = 1.8, P < 0.001; burn with no tanning RR = 1.7, P = 0.002); as did exposure to UV or black lights (RR = 3.7, P = 0.003); and welding burn, sunburn of the eye, or snow blindness (RR = 7.2, P < 0.001). An association with uveal melanoma was also noted with an increasing number of large nevi (P = 0.04 for trend), although the individual risk estimates were not remarkable. These data suggest that host factors and exposure to UV light are risk factors for uveal melanoma.

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This research was sponsored by NIH Grant CA37950 and in part by American Cancer Society Grant PDT-321 and NIH Grant EYO7504.

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