The Melanoma Genetics Clinic at Mass General is under the directorship of Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD, a dermatologist and researcher who also serves as Director of the Pigmented Lesion Center and Skin Cancer Genetics Laboratory in the Wellman Center for Photomedicine. Our team includes specialists in the areas of dermatology and genetics. If someone’s personal and/or family history includes one or more of the following, genetic counseling may be appropriate:

  • Individuals with multiple primary melanomas
  • Families with three or more cases of melanoma, on the same side of the family
  • Families with melanoma and pancreatic cancer, on the same side of the family.

Patients interested in an evaluation for hereditary melanoma have the option to meet with a dermatologist for a clinical exam in addition to meeting with a genetic counselor. Alternatively, patients who wish to discuss hereditary melanoma risk only, without a clinical examination, can schedule an appointment directly with a genetic counselor. During the genetic counseling session, family history is reviewed and options for genetic testing, including research opportunities, are discussed.

The gene most commonly discussed at the Melanoma Genetics Clinic appointment is the CDKN2A gene (also known as p16), which contributes to an increased risk of melanoma, and possibly pancreatic cancer in some families. However, this gene is found in only a portion of hereditary melanoma families. Since the genetic cause of most hereditary melanoma cases is not well established, the Melanoma Genetics Clinic has an active interest in research in order to advance our knowledge and understanding of hereditary melanoma. Currently, our melanoma research registry includes over 300 participants. In addition, our team contributes to the growing body of research and publications regarding hereditary melanoma.

Appointments for the Melanoma Genetics Clinic may be held at the Melanoma Center and Pigmented Lesion Center (50 Staniford Street, Suite 200, Boston) or at the Center for Cancer Risk Assessment (Yawkey Building, Suite 10B, 55 Fruit Street, Boston). Please call (617) 724-1971 to schedule an appointment.

Clinic Physician:

Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD
Director, Melanoma Genetics Program
Clinical Director, Mass General Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Center

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