A review of the hereditary aspects of the malignant melanomas showed causal heterogeneity and similar pathogenesis based on the dysregulation of the paracrine/autocrine growth mechanisms. The genetically different malignant melanomas have a range of recurrence risks from 1% for the nonfamilial, solitary, malignant melanoma to a risk exceeding 70% for the syndromic melanomas of neurocutaneous melanosis and the nine types of xeroderma pigmentosum. A recurrence risk of 6% is relevant to the members of dysplastic nevus syndrome families without malignant melanomas and the risk increases in excess of 50% for the individuals of families with dysplastic nevi and more than one malignant melanoma.
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