The role of female sex hormones in the pathogenesis of malignant melanoma (MM) remains controversial. Although melanocytes appear to be hormonally responsive, the effect of estrogen on MM cells is less clear. Available clinical data does not consistently demonstrate that increased endogenous hormones from pregnancy or increased exogenous hormones from oral contraceptive pills and hormone replacement affect MM prevalence and outcome.
We sought to examine potential associations between in vitro fertilization (IVF) and melanoma. Methods
A literature review was conducted. Primary outcomes were reported as associations between IVF and melanoma risk compared with the general population. Secondary outcomes included associations stratified by type of IVF regimen and subgroup, such as parous versus nulliparous patients.
Eleven studies met our inclusion criteria. Five studies found no increased risk for MM among IVF users compared with the general population. Two studies found an increase in MM in clomiphene users, and 4 studies found an increase in MM among patients who were gravid or parous either before or after IVF.
The reviewed studies do not reveal consistent patterns of association between IVF and MM among all infertile women. However, the data indicates a potential increased risk for MM in ever-parous patients treated with IVF. High-quality studies including a large number of MM cases that control for well-established MM risk factors are needed to adequately assess the relationship between IVF and MM, particularly among ever-parous women.