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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

IUPUI: Researchers Find Having a First-degree Relative with Melanoma Increases One’s Lifetime Risk of Melanoma

Previous studies have found familial aggregation of melanoma and keratinocyte cancers (KCs). In a recent study, Dr. Xin Li and Dr. Hongmei Nan, researchers at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health – Indianapolis (IUPUI), sought to determine the risk of melanoma and KCs in those with a positive family history of melanoma while controlling for pigmentary and environmental risk factors.

The researchers prospectively followed 216,115 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study, Nurse’s Health Study 2, and Health Professionals Follow-up Study for more than 20 years. Cox proportional hazards regression controlling for known risk factors for skin cancer was used to estimate association between family history of melanoma and melanoma and KCs.

Compared with those without a family history of melanoma, individuals with a family history of melanoma had a 74 percent increased risk of melanoma, a 22 percent increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma, and a 27 percent increased risk of basal cell carcinoma. Family history of melanoma increased the risk of development of truncal melanoma in both sexes, extremity melanoma in women, and extremity squamous cell carcinoma in women.

While the limitations of this study include self-reported family history and detection bias, the study found that individuals with a family history of melanoma are at an increased risk of melanoma and KCs. The full study is entitled, “Having a first-degree relative with melanoma increases lifetime risk of melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma,” and is published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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