Genetic Aspects of Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma

  • M. H. Greene
  • S. J. Bale
Part of the Recent Results in Cancer Research book series (RECENTCANCER, volume 102)


For those of us engaged in studying familial cancer in general, and familial melanoma in particular, it is both fitting and fascinating to learn that the first patient with malignant melanoma of the skin described in the English language literature was a member of a melanoma-prone family (Norris 1820). Writing in 1820, describing a patient he had treated 3 years earlier, Dr. William Norris (an eminent Scottish surgeon of the day) reported in graphic detail the now all-too-familiar downhill course of far-advanced, widely disseminated melanoma. At the end of his vivid clinical case report, Norris noted “It is remarkable that this gentleman’s father, about thirty years ago, died of a similar disease.... This tumor originated in a mole, and it will be worth mentioning that not only my patient and his children had many moles on various parts of their bodies, but also his own father and brothers had many of them.... These facts, together with a case that has come under my notice rather similar, would incline me to believe that this disease is hereditary.” Thus, Norris both described the first melanoma-prone kindred and raised the hypothesis that its melanoma susceptibility was related to the presence of numerous moles.


Dysplastic Nevus Autosomal Dominant Mode Familial Melanoma Melanoma Susceptibility Melanoma Status 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



cutaneous malignant melanoma


dysplastic nevus syndrome


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. H. Greene
    • 1
  • S. J. Bale
    • 1
  1. 1.National Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA

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