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

Genet Med. 2014 Nov;16(11):846-53. doi: 10.1038/gim.2014.37. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / prevention & control*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Pedigree
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Sunlight / adverse effects
  • Sunscreening Agents


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Sunscreening Agents