Unaffected family members report improvements in daily routine sun protection 2 years following melanoma genetic testing

Lisa G. Aspinwall, Jennifer M. Taber, Wendy Kohlmann, Samantha L. Leaf, Sancy A. Leachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Purpose:Reducing ultraviolet radiation exposure may decrease melanoma risk in the hereditary melanoma setting. It is unknown whether genetic counseling and test reporting of CDKN2A/p16 mutation status promote long-term compliance with photoprotection recommendations, especially in unaffected mutation carriers.

Methods:This study evaluated changes 2 years following melanoma genetic testing in self-reported practice of sun protection (sunscreen, photoprotective clothing, and ultraviolet radiation avoidance) among 37 members of two CDKN2A/p16 kindreds (10 unaffected carriers, 11 affected carriers, and 16 unaffected noncarriers; response rate = 64.9% of eligible participants).

Results:Multivariate profile analysis indicated that all three participant groups reported increased daily routine practice of sun protection 2 years following melanoma genetic testing (P < 0.02), with 96.9% reporting that at least one sun protection behavior was part of their daily routine, up from 78.1% at baseline (P < 0.015). Unaffected carriers (P < 0.024) and unaffected noncarriers (P < 0.027) reported significantly more frequent use of photoprotective clothing. Affected carriers maintained adherence to all sun protection behaviors. Reported sunburns in the past 6 months decreased significantly (P < 0.018).

Conclusion:Members of high-risk families reported increased daily routine sun protection and decreased sunburns 2 years following melanoma genetic testing, with no net decline in sun protection following negative test results. Thus, genetic testing and counseling may motivate sustained improvements in prevention behaviors.Genet Med 16 11, 846-853.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-853
Number of pages8
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 13 2014


  • CDKN2A/p16
  • genetic testing
  • melanoma prevention
  • sun protection
  • sunburn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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