Risk of skin cancer after neonatal phototherapy: retrospective cohort study

David H Brewster, Janet S Tucker, Michael Fleming, Carole Morris, Diane L Stockton, David J Lloyd, Sohinee Bhattacharya, James W T Chalmers

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Objective: To assess the risk of skin cancer in persons treated with neonatal phototherapy (NNPT) for jaundice.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Grampian Region, Scotland, UK.

Data source: Aberdeen Maternity and Neonatal Databank. NNPT exposure was abstracted from paper records spanning 1976-1990. Follow-up to 31 December 2006 by linkage to cancer registration and mortality records.

Main outcome measures: Indcidence ratios, standardised for age, sex, calendar period and socioeconomic position.

Results: After excluding neonatal deaths (n-435), the cohort comprised 77,518 persons. 5868 received NNPT, providing 138,000 person-years at risk (median follow-up, 24 years). Two cases of meanoma occured in persons exposed to NNPT versus 16 cases in unexposed persons, yielding a stadardised incidence ratio of 1.40 (95% CI, 0.17 to 5.04; p=0.834). No cases of squamous cell or basal cell carcinoma were observed in exposed persons.

Conclusions: Although there is no statistically significant evidence of an excess risk of skin cancer following NNPT, evidence available so far does not suggest a major cause for concern.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)826-831
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number10
Early online date23 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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