Digital Public Defence: Leon Alexander Mclaren Berge

MSc Leon Alexander McLaren Berge at Institute of Basic Medical Sciences will be defending the thesis “Use of prescription drugs and risk of cutaneous melanoma” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the public defence

Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Order a digital copy of the thesis here

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Senior Lecturer Christopher Cardwell, School of Medicine, Dentistery and Biomedical Science,  Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Second opponent: Clinical Professor Lisbet Rosenkrantz Hølmich, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Anette Hjartåker, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Anne Hansen Ree, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Trude Eid Robsahm, Scientist, Cancer Registry of Norway 


Cutaneous melanoma is the most rapidly growing malignancy in Norway and is becoming an increasing public health concern. While exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun and solarium is the primary risk factor, certain prescription drugs may induce reduced immune function and/or increased sensitivity to UVR exposure, further increasing the risk of melanoma.

In his thesis “Use of prescribed drugs and risk of cutaneous melanoma” Leon Alexander Mclaren Berge and co-workers have investigated the associations between the use of commonly prescribed drugs; antidepressant, immunomodulating and antihypertensive drugs, and the risk of melanoma in the Norwegian population. Relevant data was obtained from the Cancer Registry of Norway, the Norwegian Prescription Database, the Norwegian National Registry and the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. A nested case-control design was used to estimate the risk for each drug group by number of prescriptions and cumulative dose. Sex, age, melanoma type, body site, and clinical stage, as well as ambient UVR exposure were taken into account in the analyses.

Use of antidepressant drugs was associated with a decreased risk of melanoma, which aside from drug-effects may result from reduced UVR exposure among such users. Use of immunosuppressant drugs was associated with an increased risk of melanoma, particularly those drugs prescribed to organ transplant recipients. Use of certain antihypertensive drugs were also associated with an increased risk.

The findings of this thesis suggest that long-term use of certain drug types can increase the risk of melanoma through immune mechanisms and/or increased UVR sensitivity. The findings may be used to better inform the medical community and the relevant patient groups about the potential risks, for more targeted melanoma prevention.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.


Published Aug. 30, 2021 9:46 AM - Last modified Sep. 8, 2021 10:36 AM