Clara N Curiel
Detection and removal of melanoma, before it has metastasized, dramatically improves prognosis and survival. The purpose of this chapter is to (1) summarize current methods of melanoma detection and (2) review state-of-the-art detection methods and technologies that have the potential to reduce melanoma mortality. Current strategies for the detection of melanoma range from population-based educational campaigns and screening to the use of algorithm-driven imaging technologies and performance of assays that identify markers of transformation. This chapter will begin by describing state-of-the-art methods for educating and increasing awareness of at-risk individuals and for performing comprehensive screening examinations. Standard and advanced photographic methods designed to improve reliability and reproducibility of the clinical examination will also be reviewed. Devices that magnify and/or enhance malignant features of individual melanocytic lesions (and algorithms that are available to interpret the results obtained from these devices) will be compared and contrasted. In vivo confocal microscopy and other cellular-level in vivo technologies will be compared to traditional tissue biopsy, and the role of a noninvasive "optical biopsy" in the clinical setting will be discussed. Finally, cellular and molecular methods that have been applied to the diagnosis of melanoma, such as comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), and quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), will be discussed.
Approximately 5% to 10% of melanoma may be hereditary in nature, and about 2% of melanoma can be specifically attributed to pathogenic germline mutations in cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A). To appropriately identify the small proportion of patients who benefit most from referral to a genetics specialist for consideration of genetic testing for CDKN2A, we have reviewed available published studies of CDKN2A mutation analysis in cohorts with invasive, cutaneous melanoma and found variability in the rate of CDKN2A mutations based on geography, ethnicity, and the type of study and eligibility criteria used. Except in regions of high melanoma incidence, such as Australia, we found higher rates of CDKN2A positivity in individuals with 3 or more primary invasive melanomas and/or families with at least one invasive melanoma and two or more other diagnoses of invasive melanoma and/or pancreatic cancer among first- or second-degree relatives on the same side of the family. The work summarized in this review should help identify individuals who are appropriate candidates for referral for genetic consultation and possible testing.