Characteristics associated with familial compared with nonfamilial malignant melanoma were assessed. These data were obtained from consecutive prospectively completed questionnaires on 1169 cases of cutaneous malignant melanoma. Of these, 69 patients indicated a positive family history for this cancer. Among the various clinical and histological variables compared, those that significantly correlated with the familial occurrence of malignant melanoma include younger age at first diagnosis, smaller diameter of the lesion, lower Clark level, decreased frequency of nonmelanoma skin cancer, and reduced prevalence of noncutaneous cancer. Increased awareness of malignant melanoma among family members could account for some of these observations. Identification of the familial variety of malignant melanoma has practical implications concerning early detection and prompt intervention.