Genetic predisposition plays an important role in the development of nearly 10% of cases of cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM). The CDKN2A gene has been described as responsible for melanoma susceptibility in a proportion of families with CMM linked to 9p. CDKN2A encodes a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor also implicated in the carcinogenesis of several sporadic tumors. Even though the incidence of other cancers is higher in CMM families, pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the only other well demonstrated cancer associated with CDKN2A mutations in some CMM pedigrees. We describe a family with four cases of CMM, eight patients affected by other cancers, and nine patients affected by dysplastic nevus (DN) syndrome. A CDKN2A frameshift mutation (358delG) was present in all the CMM patients, in at least three of the patients with other cancers (CDKN2A status is unknown in four patients), and in only two of the DN patients (CDKN2A status is unknown in one patient). An absence of linkage between chromosome 9p markers and the 358delG CDKN2A mutation and DN was detected, indicating genetic heterogeneity for DN and CMM in this family. The study strongly suggests that CDKN2A mutations are involved not only in the predisposition to CMM but also to several other types of cancer.
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