TNF-Alpha Inhibition and Other Immunosuppressants in the Development of Uveal and Cutaneous Melanoma

Gena M. Damento, Jose S. Pulido, Barbara A. Abbott, David O. Hodge, Lauren A. Dalvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate an association between tumor necrosis factors-alpha (TNFα) inhibitors or other immunosuppressants and the development of uveal and cutaneous melanoma. Patients and Methods: We performed a retrospective incidence and case-control analysis of patients in Olmsted County, MN, who were diagnosed with uveal or cutaneous melanoma from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2014. Incidence was adjusted by age and gender to the 2010 US white population. Controls were matched by sex and age to cases at time of diagnosis of melanoma. Results: There were 1221 cases of melanoma (33 uveal, 1188 cutaneous). Combined incidence of uveal and cutaneous melanoma per 100,000 person-years varied by gender (male > female), age (older > younger), and time period: 2010 to 2014 (77.9, 95% confidence interval [CI], 71.1-84.7) ≈ 2005 to 2009 (78.0, 95% CI, 70.9-85.0) > 2000 to 2004 (42.5, 95% CI, 36.9-48.1, P<.001). TNFa inhibitor prescription was not associated with significantly increased risk of melanoma vs controls (1.06% vs 0.41%, P=.06). Immunosuppressive agents, high-dose corticosteroids, and topical immunosuppressants were associated with melanoma (odds ratio [OR] 1.42 CI, 1.03-1.95, 3.30 CI, 2.44-4.48, and 1.87 CI, 1.06-3.28, respectively). An increased number of patients with uveal melanoma received immune modulating agents vs controls, but this was not statistically significant (P=.36). Autoimmune disease itself was not correlated with melanoma (P=.73). Conclusion: Exposure to immunosuppressive agents is associated with melanoma. TNFa inhibition and autoimmune disease alone do not significantly increase risk of melanoma. In patients receiving immunosuppressive treatments, physicians should consider monitoring with dilated ophthalmic and full-body skin examinations. Further studies are needed to assess the impact of TNFa inhibitors on development of melanoma, particularly in uveal melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1287-1295
Number of pages9
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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