Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers Coverage from Every Angle

Does a Family History of Melanoma Increase the Risk of Keratinocyte Cancers?

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Individuals with a first-degree relative with melanoma appear to be at an increased risk of both melanoma and keratinocyte cancers—squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas—as well. These findings are based on a large, prospective cohort study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

“This study provides new evidence to guide clinical practice for risk stratification of individuals for skin cancer,” stated Erin X. Wei, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues. “Our results indicate that it is important to consider family history of melanoma in a first-degree relative when discussing risk of all skin cancers.”

The researchers prospectively followed 216,115 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study, Nurse’s Health Study 2, and Health Professionals Follow-up Study for more than 20 years. Individuals of nonwhite ancestry were excluded.

Compared with those without a family history of melanoma, individuals with a family history of melanoma had a 74% increased risk of melanoma (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.74; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.45ˆ2.09), a 22% increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma (HR = 1.22; 95% CI = 1.06–1.40), and a 27% increased risk of basal cell carcinoma (HR = 1.27; 95% CI = 1.12–1.44). The study also revealed that the trunk and extremities are both melanoma-prone sites in individuals with a family history of melanoma, with a 94% increase in the risk of melanomas on the trunk and an 83% increase for melanomas on the extremities.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at

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