Arsenic and ultraviolet radiation exposure: melanoma in a New Mexico non-Hispanic white population. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cases of cutaneous melanoma and controls were enrolled in a New Mexico population-based study; subjects were administered questionnaires concerning ultraviolet (UV) and inorganic arsenic (iAs) exposure. Historical iAs exposure was estimated. UV exposure estimates were also derived using geospatial methods. Drinking water samples were collected for iAs analysis. Blood samples were collected for DNA repair (Comet) and DNA repair gene polymorphism assays. Arsenic concentrations were determined in urine and toenail samples. UV exposures during the previous 90 days did not vary significantly between cases and controls. Mean (±SD) current home iAs drinking water was not significantly different for cases and controls [3.98 μg/L (±3.67) vs. 3.47 μg/L (±2.40)]. iAs exposure showed no effect on DNA repair or association with melanoma. Results did not corroborate a previously reported association between toenail As and melanoma risk. Arsenic biomarkers in urine and toenail were highly significantly correlated with iAs in drinking water. A UV-DNA repair interaction for UV exposure over the previous 7-90 days was shown; cases had higher DNA damage than controls at low UV values. This novel finding suggests that melanoma cases may be more sensitive to low-level UV exposure than are controls. A UV-APEX1 interaction was shown. Subjects with the homozygous rare APEX1 DNA repair gene allele had a higher risk of early melanoma diagnosis at low UV exposure compared with those with the homozygous wild type or the heterozygote. Notably, a UV-arsenic interaction on inhibition of DNA repair was not observed at iAs drinking water concentrations below 10 ppb (μg/L).

publication date

  • October 2015