Fink, C. A. and Bates, M. N. Melanoma and Ionizing Radiation: Is There a Causal Relationship? Radiat. Res. 164, 701–710 (2005).
This review was initiated in response to concerns that ionizing radiation could be a cause of melanoma. Studies presenting the relative risks for melanoma after external ionizing radiation exposure were in seven categories: (1) The Canadian Radiation Dose Registry, (2) nuclear industry workers, (3) subjects near nuclear test blasts, (4) survivors of the atomic bombings of Japan, (5) airline pilots and cabin attendants, (6) recipients of medical radiation, and (7) radiological technicians. Relative risks for leukemia in each of the studies were used to confirm the likelihood of exposure to ionizing radiation. When studies within a category were compatible, meta-analytic methods were used to obtain combined estimates of the relative risk, and a meta-regression analysis of melanoma relative risk compared to leukemia relative risk was used to examine consistency across exposure categories. Generally, exposure categories with elevated relative risks of leukemia had proportionately elevated relative risks of melanoma. This suggests that people exposed to ionizing radiation may be at increased risk of developing melanoma, although alternative explanations are possible. Future epidemiological studies of ionizing radiation effects should include melanoma as an outcome of interest.