AT AAD 2017

ORLANDO (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – The rule of threes that has been used to identify patients at risk of hereditary melanoma who may be candidates for genetic testing may be modified soon, according to Sancy Leachman, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the department of dermatology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland.

Dr. Leachman was the author of a 2009 study that listed three factors as criteria for identifying melanoma: a personal history of at least three invasive melanomas, a combination of at least three melanomas in the individual and in first-degree and second-degree blood relatives – or, in first- or second-degree relatives, a total of at least three diagnoses of melanoma or pancreatic cancer or astrocytoma, which also have been associated with a known susceptibility gene, p16 ( J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 Oct;61[4]:677.e1-14 ).

But with more genetic testing, it is becoming clear that there are other cancers associated with an increased risk of hereditary melanoma, she explained in a video interview at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. “The genes are a little bit different, but if you could identify those patients, you could potentially then screen them for those other cancers,” said Dr. Leachman , who is also director of the melanoma research program at Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU.

In the interview, she discussed a soon-to-be-published literature review that builds upon the rule of threes and suggests a strategy for deciding which patients should be considered for genetic testing, and includes “a suggested list of genes” that should be used in these different subsets of patients.

Dr. Leachman had no relevant disclosures.