Hereditary Melanoma

There are approximately 70,000 new cases of melanoma in the United States each year, and the incidence continues to rise.131  Increased surveillance is critical to the prevention, early detection and treatment of melanoma in patients at increased risk. Approximately 10% of melanoma cases are hereditary280-281. Several genes have been associated with hereditary melanoma, including CDKN2A and CDK4.  Mutations in CDKN2A account for 20-40% of hereditary melanoma cases.280 CDK4 gene mutations may account for approximately 2% and unknown, or as yet unidentified genes, account for the remainder of hereditary melanoma cases.282-283  In the United States, p16 mutations are likely responsible for approximately 1400-2800 new melanoma cases each year.  Therefore, mutations in the p16 gene are the most significant known cause of hereditary melanoma.  Additionally, p16 mutations are associated with an increased risk for pancreatic cancer in some families.


P16 gene cancer risk graph

Hereditary Cancer Testing and Melanoma

The following questions can be asked to help determine whether someone has a higher risk for melanoma because of their own cancer history and their family's history.

Knowing the potential risk can help the healthcare provider and patient make better, more informed decisions about the patient’s health, before the onset of cancer or before a second cancer has a chance to develop. Testing should be considered for hereditary melanoma if:

  • Two or more melanomas are found in an individual or family
  • Melanoma and pancreatic cancer occur in an individual or family
  • Someone has a relative with a p16 mutation

*Assessment criteria based on medical society guidelines.  For these individual medical society guidelines, go to

Melaris genetic test logo


MELARIS® testing assesses a person’s risk of developing hereditary melanoma. This test detects inherited mutations in the p16 gene (also called CDKN2A or INK4A), which are associated with hereditary melanoma.


The results of MELARIS testing help healthcare providers and their patients make more informed healthcare decisions.  A positive result with MELARIS will allow you to:

  • Target screening and surveillance specifically to individuals with a p16 gene mutation—maximizing patient care and increasing clinical efficiency
  • Improve patient compliance with tailored screening recommendations and preventive measures
  • Improve outcomes through prevention, earlier diagnosis and treatment of cancer, should it develop
  • Counsel patients and their family members on the underlying cause of the pattern of melanoma and possibly pancreatic cancer
  • Avoid unnecessary interventions for family members who do not test positive for the mutation known to be in the family

For more information about hereditary cancer testing, please visit:

For Physicians:

Myriad Pro genetic testing logo

For Patients:

My Support 360 hereditary cancer logo