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Reuters Health Information (2011-09-19): Blue light for neonatal jaundice may raise risk of melanocytic nevi


Blue light for neonatal jaundice may raise risk of melanocytic nevi

Last Updated: 2011-09-19 14:29:19 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Neonatal blue light phototherapy (NBLP) for jaundice may increase the newborn's long-term risk for melanocytic nevi, Hungarian researchers say.

Dr. Zsanett Csoma from the University of Szeged and colleagues looked for links between NBLP and melanocytic nevus development in a study of 59 monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs ranging in age from three to 30 years.

Identical and fraternal twins who'd been treated with NBLP had a significantly higher prevalence of common and atypical melanocytic nevi in univariate analysis.

The significance held up on multivariate analysis: NBLP was independently associated with a significantly higher number of melanocytic nevi. Other factors with a significant impact on risk were age and number of summer holidays beside the sea in the Mediterranean or in a subtropical or tropical climate.

NBLP was also linked to a significantly higher prevalence of benign pigmented uveal lesions, the researchers report in Pediatrics.

Polymorphisms in the gene for melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), which are associated with the combination of red hair, freckling and sun sensitivity, were significantly associated with skin type but not with risk of skin or uveal pigmented lesions.

The 1439V polymorphism of histidine ammonia-lyase (1439V HAL), which is linked with nonmelanoma skin cancers, in this study couldn't be linked to either pigmented lesions or skin type.

"Our results indicate the importance of appropriate eye care and eye protection of infants receiving phototherapy," the investigators conclude. "In the event of unavoidable phototherapy treatment, alternative methods of eye protection should be used to minimize accidental blue light exposure of the extremely vulnerable neonatal eye."

"We suggest that a more restricted treatment protocol should be introduced to rule out the unnecessary application of NBLP and thereby prevent its possible adverse effects," they add. "Phototherapy with blue light lamps is currently a standard and essential therapeutic modality in neonatal care; additional studies are therefore necessary to establish its potential long-term adverse effects."


Pediatrics 2011;128:e856-e864.

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