Background: Incidence rates of cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) have been increasing for decades among Caucasian populations worldwide. Multiple factors identify persons at increased risk of CMM, including those with a family history of melanoma and those with atypical moles. Approximately 6-12% of melanomas are familial and approximately 12% of patients with familial melanoma have multiple primary melanomas.
Objective: To report a case of a patient with atypical moles and with 17 multiple primary melanomas. To review the literature on multiple primary melanomas as well as to review the genetics and treatment of melanoma.
Conclusion: Patients with numerous atypical moles and a family or personal history of melanoma are at greatest risk for developing CMM. Patients from this population tend to develop CMM approximately 10 years earlier than the general population and have an increased risk for developing multiple primary melanomas. Since genetic tests capable of detecting individuals with an inherited susceptibility to CMM are not available, it is important to identify those patients with an increased risk and monitor them closely with regular total-body examinations.