Familial melanoma linked to many other discordant cancers

  • Family history of cutaneous melanoma is a risk factor for melanoma and also appears to be associated with other discordant cancers.
Why this matters
  • These findings provide new leads and incentives to investigate genetic association with other cancer types, aside from those that have already been established.
Study design
  • The nationwide Swedish Family-Cancer Database was used to assess the relative risk (RR) for any cancer type in families with increasing numbers of first-degree relatives diagnosed with melanoma.
  • 79,060 melanomas with a total of 28,495 invasive melanomas were included.
  • Funding: German Cancer Aid and others.
Key results
  • Increased RRs were observed for nasal (1.64; 4.89 for nasal melanoma), prostate (1.08), testicular (1.17), kidney (1.17), skin (1.46), nervous system (1.27), and thyroid gland cancers (1.28) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (1.12) for 1 family member with melanoma.
  • A first-degree relative with multiple melanomas was associated with significantly increased RRs for discordant associations with cancers of the small intestine (2.34, 3.01 for small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors), lung (1.64), breast (1.25), skin (2.00), and bone (2.60; 4.10 for osteosarcoma).
  • Discordant cancer cases with 2 or more affected FDRs were rare, but there were significantly increased risks for other cancers.
  • Small sample sizes, multiple comparisons

Frank C, Sundquist J, Hemminki A, Hemminki K. Risk of other Cancers in Families with Melanoma: Novel Familial Links. Sci Rep. 2017;7:42601. doi: 10.1038/srep42601. PMID: 28198461

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