Histologic features of melanoma associated with CDKN2A genotype

Michael R. Sargen, Peter A. Kanetsky, Julia Newton-Bishop, Nicholas K. Hayward, Graham J. Mann, Nelleke A. Gruis, Margaret A. Tucker, Alisa M. Goldstein, Giovanna Bianchi-Scarra, Susana Puig, David E. Elder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Inherited susceptibility genes have been associated with histopathologic characteristics of tumors. Objective We sought to identify associations between histology of melanomas and CDKN2A genotype. Methods This was a case-control study design comparing 28 histopathologic tumor features among individuals with sporadic melanomas (N = 81) and cases from melanoma families with (N = 123) and without (N = 120) CDKN2A germline mutations. Results Compared with CDKN2A- cases, mutation carriers tended to have histologic features of superficial spreading melanoma subtype including higher pigmentation (Ptrend =.02) and increased pagetoid scatter (Ptrend =.07) after adjusting for age at diagnosis, sex, and American Joint Committee on Cancer thickness category. Similar associations were observed when comparing mutation carriers with a combined group of CDKN2A- (wild type) and sporadic melanomas. The presence of spindle cell morphology in the vertical growth phase was also an important predictor of genotype. Of the 15 cases with this phenotype, none were observed to harbor a CDKN2A mutation. Limitations Our study examined rare mutations and may have been underpowered to detect small, but biologically significant associations between histology and genotype. Conclusion Familial melanomas with CDKN2A mutations preferentially express a histologic phenotype of dense pigmentation, high pagetoid scatter, and a non-spindle cell morphology in the vertical growth phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-507.e7
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2015


  • CDKN2A
  • classification and regression tree analysis
  • familial melanoma
  • genetic testing
  • histology
  • pagetoid scatter
  • pigmentation
  • sporadic melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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