Familial Cancer

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 609–613 | Cite as

High accuracy of family history of melanoma in Danish melanoma cases

  • Karin A. W. Wadt
  • Krzysztof T. Drzewiecki
  • Anne-Marie Gerdes
Short Communication


The incidence of melanoma in Denmark has immensely increased over the last 10 years making Denmark a high risk country for melanoma. In the last two decades multiple public campaigns have sought to increase the awareness of melanoma. Family history of melanoma is a known major risk factor but previous studies have shown that self-reported family history of melanoma is highly inaccurate. These studies are 15 years old and we wanted to examine if a higher awareness of melanoma has increased the accuracy of self-reported family history of melanoma. We examined the family history of 181 melanoma probands who reported 199 cases of melanoma in relatives, of which 135 cases where in first degree relatives. We confirmed the diagnosis of melanoma in 77 % of all relatives, and in 83 % of first degree relatives. In 181 probands we validated the negative family history of melanoma in 748 first degree relatives and found only 1 case of melanoma which was not reported in a 3 case melanoma family. Melanoma patients in Denmark report family history of melanoma in first and second degree relatives with a high level of accuracy with a true positive predictive value between 77 and 87 %. In 99 % of probands reporting a negative family history of melanoma in first degree relatives this information is correct. In clinical practice we recommend that melanoma diagnosis in relatives should be verified if possible, but even unverified reported melanoma cases in relatives should be included in the indication of genetic testing and assessment of melanoma risk in the family.


Validation Melanoma Family cancer history 



This work was funded by Rigshospitalet, Aase and Ejnar Danielsens fond, and The Danish Medical Association Research Fund. The authors are grateful to the families for their participation in this project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karin A. W. Wadt
    • 1
  • Krzysztof T. Drzewiecki
    • 2
  • Anne-Marie Gerdes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Genetics, 4062University Hospital of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Plastic Surgery, Breast Surgery and Burns, RigshospitaletCopenhagen University HospitalCopenhagenDenmark

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