Family History Associated with Multiple Primary Melanomas

Dermatologic screening and genetic testing recommended

TUESDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a family history of multiple primary melanomas (MPM) and/or dysplastic nevi are more likely to be diagnosed with more than one melanoma themselves, according to a study published in the Oct. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Cristina Ferrone, M.D., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and colleagues reviewed the cases of 4,484 patients diagnosed with a first primary melanoma between 1996 and 2002.

Some 385 patients, or 8.6%, had two or more primary melanomas, and 21% of such patients had a positive family history of melanoma compared to only 12% of patients with a single primary melanoma. Thirty-eight percent of MPM patients had dysplastic nevi compared with 18% of single primary melanoma patients.

"The most striking increase in incidence for the MPM population was seen for development of a third primary melanoma from the time of second primary melanoma, which was 15.6% at one year and 30.9% at five years," the authors write. Melanoma patients with a family history and dysplastic nevi should undergo dermatologic screening and consider genetic testing, according to the authors.

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