Genetic Testing and Melanoma


Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology and director of the Melanoma Research Program at the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University, discusses genetic testing for melanoma.

Leachman explains the difference between germline testing for inherited mutations associated with greater risk and somatic testing of melanoma tumor cells themselves that might help oncologists decide upon a course of treatment that attacks a particular growth pathway.

Germline testing might be warrnted after a patient has had three melanomas or has family history of three first- and second-degree relatives having melanoma, she said. Some mutations confer a higher risk for melaonoma and pancreatic cancer so germline testing might be called for if there is a family history of both those cancers, Leachman said.

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