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Open Access Case report

MC1R variants predisposing to concomitant primary cutaneous melanoma in a monozygotic twin pair

Cristina Pellegrini1, Maria Concetta Fargnoli1, Mariano Suppa1 and Ketty Peris12*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Dermatology, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy

2 Department of Dermatology, University of L’Aquila, via Vetoio - Coppito 2, 67100, L’Aquila, Italy

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Citation and License

BMC Medical Genetics 2012, 13:81  doi:10.1186/1471-2350-13-81

Published: 14 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Concomitant primary cutaneous melanoma in monozygotic twins has been reported in only two pairs but in neither of them genetic analysis was performed. Two high-penetrance susceptibility genes, CDKN2A and CDK4 and one low-penetrance gene, MC1R, are well-defined genetic risk factors for melanoma. MITF has been recently identified as a novel intermediate risk melanoma-predisposing gene.

Case presentation

We describe the extraordinary occurrence of a primary cutaneous invasive melanoma in two 44-year-old identical, female twins, on the same body site within 30 days of each other and report for the first time the genetic analysis of melanoma susceptibility genes in both twins. Data on characteristics of the twins were collected through a standardized questionnaire and skin examination. Exons 1α, 1β, 2 and 3 of CDKN2A, exon 2 of CDK4, the entire open reading frame of MC1R and the recently described MITF c.952 G > A (p.Glu318Lys) variant were investigated by direct sequencing. Sequencing analysis of the high-penetrance susceptibility genes showed no changes in CDKN2A and in exon 2 of the CDK4 gene. Both patients were heterozygous for the same CDKN2A UTR c.*29C > G variant. Interestingly, the same two heterozygous variants of the MC1R were identified in both twins: the c.451C > T (p.Arg151Cys) and the c.456C > A (p.Tyr152*) variants. Neither patient showed the c.952 G > A (p.Glu318Lys) substitution in the MITF gene.

Conclusions

Identification of two high-risk MC1R variants in our identical twins in the absence of CDKN2A and CDK4 mutations highlights the contribution of low penetrance genes, such as MC1R, in melanoma susceptibility.

Keywords:
Melanoma; Monozygotic twins; CDKN2A; CDK4; MC1R; MITF; Genetic susceptibility