Clinical genetic testing for mutations in CDKN2A (cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A), a melanoma susceptibility gene, is now available. The International Melanoma Genetics Consortium advocates that genetic testing for CDKN2A should be done only as part of a research protocol. Experience with genetic testing for other cancer-susceptibility genes indicates that CDKN2A testing has enormous potential for the prevention and detection of a deadly disease. However, clinicians need to understand the benefits and shortcomings of clinical CDKN2A testing so that it can be used advantageously. Here, we examine whether CDKN2A meets the recommendations of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for cancer-susceptibility genetic testing. Although genetic testing for hereditary melanoma should, whenever possible, occur within research protocols, it might be successfully done outside of research protocols if attention is paid to selection, education, and counselling needs of patients; valid test interpretation; and the changing of medical management in appropriate individuals.
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