Introduction: Familial history of melanoma is a well-known risk factor for the disease, and 7% melanoma patients were reported to have a family history of melanoma. Data relating to the frequency and clinical and pathological characteristics of both familial and non-familial melanoma in Spain have been published, but these only include patients from specific areas of Spain and do not represent the data for the whole of Spain.
Patients and methods: An observational study conducted by the Spanish Group of Melanoma (GEM) analyzed the family history of patients diagnosed with melanoma between 2011 and 2013 in the dermatology and oncology departments.
Results: In all, 1047 patients were analyzed, and 69 (6.6%) fulfilled criteria for classical familial melanoma (two or more first-degree relatives diagnosed with melanoma). Taking into account other risk factors for familial melanoma, such as multiple melanoma, pancreatic cancer in the family or second-degree relatives with melanoma, the number of patients fulfilling the criteria increased to 165 (15.8%). Using a univariate analysis, we determined that a Breslow index of less than 1 mm, negative mitosis, multiple melanoma, and a history of sunburns in childhood were more frequent in familial melanoma patients, but a multivariate analysis revealed no differences in any pathological or clinical factor between the two groups.
Conclusions: Similar to that observed in other countries, familial melanoma accounts for 6.6% of melanoma diagnoses in Spain. Although no differences in the multivariate analysis were found, some better prognosis factors, such as Breslow index, seem more frequent in familial melanoma, which reflect a better early detection marker and/or a different biological behavior.