Germline mutations of the CDKN2A and CDK4 genes explain a significant proportion of familial melanoma. To date, there have been few published estimations of the prevalence of such mutations in sporadic melanoma patients. In this study, we investigated CDKN2A and CDK4 exon 2 for germline mutations in 125 consecutive cutaneous malignant melanoma patients recruited through the Latvian Oncological Center, using amplicon melting analysis and sequencing. No disease-related CDKN2A germline mutations were identified in any of the melanoma patients analysed but the previously described CDK4 mutation, Arg24His, was found in one patient with a family history of melanoma. CDKN2A polymorphisms were studied as putative low penetrance susceptibility genes. The proportion of cases with polymorphisms in this Latvian melanoma population was Ala148Thr (c.442G>A) (6%), 500 C/G (c.*29C>G) (18%), and 540 C/T (c.*69C>T) (20%); however, only the frequency of the Ala148Thr polymorphism was higher in melanoma patients than in 203 controls (6 versus 1%, P=0.03). Ala148Thr has also been reported in association with melanoma in a Polish series but not in an English series. We therefore examined the Ala148Thr carrier's haplotype in 10 Latvian and 39 Polish samples. No significant difference was seen between these populations and the predominant haplotype observed in English samples, giving no indication that the discrepancy could be explained by population differences in linkage disequilibrium. In summary, our results show that germline mutations at the CDKN2A locus are rare in sporadic melanoma in Latvia. The study does, however, provide some additional evidence for a role for the CDKN2A polymorphism Ala148Thr as a low penetrance susceptibility gene. The detected CDK4 exon 2 mutation was found in only the seventh family identified worldwide with a germline CDK4 mutation.