An increase in the clinical significance of cutaneous malignant melanoma has paralleled a dramatic increase in the rate of death from this disease. The critical genetic changes associated with the genesis and progression of this disease are only beginning to be identified. This review highlights genetic changes in cutaneous melanoma and discusses the genetics of predisposition, cytogenetics, changes in proto-oncogenes and oncogenes, and evidence for the role of tumor suppressor genes in this malignancy. The viewpoint of this article is that malignant melanoma is a genetic disease.
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