Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Melanomas?

William James, MD


February 18, 2020

Dysplastic nevi in familial melanoma confers a greatly elevated risk for cutaneous melanoma. Many genes are implicated in the development of melanoma, including CDKN2A (p16), CDK4, RB1, CDKN2A (p19), PTEN/MMAC1, and ras. CDKN2A (p16) appears to be especially important in both sporadic and hereditary melanomas. This tumor-suppressor gene is located on band 9p21, and its mutation plays a role in various cancers.

A previous history of melanoma confers a moderately elevated risk for cutaneous melanoma. Other risk factors in the moderate risk category include one family member with melanoma; sporadic dysplastic nevi; and more than 50 nevi, 2 mm or greater in diameter.

Freckling confers a slightly elevated risk for cutaneous melanoma. Other factors in this category include immunosuppression; sun sensitivity; tanning parlor use; and a history of acute, severe, blistering sunburns. Acute, intense, and intermittent blistering sunburns, especially on areas of the body that only occasionally receive sun exposure and even one exposure to a tanning bed, are the greatest risk factors for the development of sun exposure–induced melanoma. This sun-associated risk factor is different from that for squamous cell skin cancers, which are associated with prolonged, long-term sun exposure. LMM is an exception to this rule, because it frequently appears on the head and neck of older individuals who have a history of long-term sun exposure.

For more on risk factors associated with melanoma, read here.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as: