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May 29, 1967

Hereditary Aspects of Malignant Melanoma

Author Affiliations

From the departments of biology, pathology, and surgery, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston.

JAMA. 1967;200(9):741-746. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120220043006

This report focuses attention on familial malignant melanoma and some of its clinical characteristics by documenting its occurrence in 22 kindreds, including one in which this malignant neoplasm has developed in a total of 15 individuals. The data convincingly demonstrate a genetic basis for the occurrence of this tumor in these kindreds. Furthermore, the tumor is apparently inherited through the autosomes and not the sex chromosomes. The mode of inheritance involves dominance although the pattern is not always that of a regular dominant. A change in terminology is proposed from "familial" to "hereditary malignant melanoma." Hereditary malignant melanoma is also characterized by the victims' significantly early age at first diagnosis and an increased frequency of multiple primary lesions. The findings have important bearing on early detection of this malignant neoplasm in the relatives of patients.

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