In vitro fertilization has not shown consistent correlation with malignant melanoma in women who are infertile, according to a review recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Those who have ever been parous and who have received in vitro fertilization, however, may be at increased risk for malignant melanoma.

This literature review included 11 studies, 5 of which found no evidence of malignant melanoma being more likely among women who used in vitro fertilization than others. Clomiphene use was associated with a greater risk of malignant melanoma in 2 studies, while 4 studies discovered an association between having been parous or gravid before or after in vitro fertilization and an increase in malignant melanoma.

Studies were selected for quality, which the researchers assessed through the size and design of each study, the presence of confounders including lack of adjustment for risk factors that increased the risk for malignant melanoma, and the quality of the study’s controls. Women included in the studies had been diagnosed with infertility, defined as the inability to conceive for >12 months or another similar reproductive disorder. The primary outcomes of this review were correlations between in vitro fertilization and the risk for malignant melanoma. Secondary outcomes comprised correlations arranged in terms of subgroup and in vitro fertilization course, including ever-parous or never-parous individuals.

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The study researchers concluded that “High-quality studies, which include a large number of [malignant melanoma] cases and control for well-established [malignant melanoma] risk factors, are needed to adequately assess the relationship between [in vitro fertilization] and [malignant melanoma], particularly among ever-parous women.”

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Berk-Krauss J, Bieber AK, Criscito MC, et al. Melanoma risk after in vitro fertilization: A review of the literature [published online July 25, 2018]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2018.07.022