Background and Design:
Five percent to 10% of cutaneous malignant melanomas (CMMs) occur in a familial setting. Clinical, epidemiologic, and genetic studies of familial CMM in different regions of the world have led to various results. To assess the characteristics of familial CMM in France, the clinical, histologic, and epidemiologic characteristics of 295 patients with CMM were recorded, and a comprehensive familial investigation was performed for each case. Patients with a family history of CMM were compared with nonfamilial cases.
Cutaneous malignant melanoma occurred as a familial cancer in 22 (8%) of 295 patients. Among the multiple variables studied, those significantly associated with the familial occurrence of CMM were red hair, inability to tan, and presence of clinically atypical moles. When these variables were considered together in a mul- tivariate analysis, only the association with red hair (P=.001) and atypical moles (P<.05) remained significant. In addition, the patients with familial melanoma exhibited the following tendencies: a younger age at diagnosis, a higher number of moles, and the development of multiple primary melanomas, but these results did not reach statistical significance. Factors relating to UV light exposure, histologic features of CMM, course of the disease, and occurrence of nonmelanoma cancers showed a similar distribution between familial and nonfamilial
A familial investigation should be performed for each patient with CMM in France, particularly when he or she exhibits phenotypic risk factors for CMM such as red hair and atypical moles.(Arch Dermatol. 1995;131:1154-1159)