Melanoma is the most deadly of the common skin cancers and its incidence is rapidly increasing. Approximately 10% of cases occur in a familial context. To date, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A), which was identified as the first melanoma susceptibility gene more than 20 years ago, is the main high-risk gene for melanoma. A few years later cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) was also identified as a melanoma susceptibility gene. The technologic advances have allowed the identification of new genes involved in melanoma susceptibility: Breast cancer 1 (BRCA1) associated protein 1 (BAP1), CXC genes, telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), protection of telomeres 1 (POT1), ACD and TERF2IP, the latter four being involved in telomere maintenance. Furthermore variants in melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) and microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) give a moderately increased risk to develop melanoma. Melanoma genetic counseling is offered to families in order to better understand the disease and the genetic susceptibility of developing it. Genetic counseling often implies genetic testing, although patients can benefit from genetic counseling even when they do not fulfill the criteria for these tests. Genetic testing for melanoma predisposition mutations can be used in clinical practice under adequate selection criteria and giving a valid test interpretation and genetic counseling to the individual.
Keywords: Melanoma; breast cancer 1 associated protein 1 (BAP1); cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4); cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A); familial melanoma; genetic counseling; melanoma susceptibility; protection of telomeres 1 (POT1); telomere.