Melanoma risk assessment based on relatives’ age at diagnosis

Yelena P. Wu, Wendy Kohlmann, Karen Curtin, Zhe Yu, Heidi A. Hanson, Mia Hashibe, Bridget G. Parsons, Jathine Wong, Joshua D. Schiffman, Douglas Grossman, Sancy A. Leachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine risk for melanoma among individuals who have a first- or second-degree relative with a history of melanoma, based on the unaffected individual’s age and age at diagnosis of the relative. Methods: The study employed a case–control design using a statewide database linked with a Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results cancer registry. A population-based sample of individuals who received at least one diagnosis of first primary, malignant melanoma (n = 14,281), as well as their first- and second-degree relatives, was included. Control individuals with no history of melanoma (n = 70,889) were matched to cases on birth year, gender, race/ethnicity, and county at birth. Results: Risk for melanoma among relatives of melanoma patients declined with relative’s age and age at diagnosis. Individuals between ages 40 and 49 who are first-degree relatives of melanoma patients diagnosed between ages 40 and 49 had the greatest risk for melanoma compared with individuals without a first-degree relative with a melanoma history (HR 4.89; 95% CI 3.11–7.68). Increased melanoma risk among second-degree relatives of patients was typically lower than that for first-degree relatives. Conclusions: Risk for melanoma, at earlier ages than expected, is increased among relatives of individuals with a history of melanoma, particularly if the melanoma case was diagnosed at a young age. Further research on the relationship between age at diagnosis and relative’s melanoma risk could inform melanoma screening recommendations for individuals with a family history of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-199
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Age at diagnosis
  • Early detection
  • Familial risk
  • Melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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