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Title: Genetic testing for melanoma predisposition: current challenges.
Authors: Gerstenblith MR,  Goldstein AM,  Tucker MA,  Fraser MC
Journal: Cancer Nurs
Date: 2007 Nov-Dec
Branches: GEB
PubMed ID: 18025917
PMC ID: not available
Abstract: A complex interaction of genetic, host, and environmental factors results in cutaneous malignant melanoma, the fifth most common cancer among men and the sixth among women in the United States. Mortality rates for cutaneous malignant melanoma depend on stage at diagnosis; thus, efforts are aimed at early detection and identification of risk factors for melanoma to distinguish those individuals requiring close surveillance. Melanoma susceptibility genes CDKN2A and CDK4 play a role in the development of melanoma, especially among some familial melanoma kindreds. The functions of CDKN2A and CDK4 in melanoma development, however, are currently incompletely understood. Therefore, at this time, predictive genetic testing for CDKN2A mutations outside of defined research protocols is not recommended because of the low likelihood of detecting mutations even in high-risk groups, the present inadequacy of interpreting a test result due to variations in penetrance and unclear associations with other cancers, and the minimal influence knowledge of mutation status currently has on medical management. Oncology nurses have an important role in identifying individuals at high risk for melanoma regardless of CDKN2A mutation status, encouraging enrollment in skin surveillance programs, and providing patient education regarding sun protection, prevention and early detection of melanoma.