There is increasing evidence that the behaviour of naevi and melanoma is under significant genetic and/or epigenetic control. Melanoma tumours behaves similarly all over the world. Many genes have now been implicated in melanoma risk and naevi number. Embryogenesis has also been important in the discovery of links between several neurological diseases and melanoma susceptibility. Telomere biology, which regulates cell senescence, is increasingly relevant in melanoma. Melanoma is often found in the context of family cancer syndromes and the identification of these families is important as screening for cancer will save lives. Melanoma is also one of the most immunogenic cancer as the behaviour of naevi and melanoma differ in patients with vitiligo or eczema. The search for non-sun related melanoma risk factors should continue as it is likely to lead to important discoveries which will, in turn, have an impact on therapeutic targets for this tumour.
Keywords: body mass index; family cancer syndromes; naevi; vitamin D; telomere.