Genetic diseases associated with an increased risk of skin cancer development in childhood

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Childhood skin cancers are relatively rare and may indicate an underlying genetic disorder. The increasing elucidation of genetic pathways is changing the diagnosis and management of genetic skin cancer susceptibility syndromes. In this review, we provide an overview of genetic conditions that predispose to skin cancer development in childhood and signs that providers should assess when evaluating affected individuals.

Recent findings

In basal cell nevus syndrome (BCNS), the patched2 (PTCH2) and suppressor of fused (SUFU) genes have been implicated in disease pathogenesis. The sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway inhibitor vismodegib was shown in a placebo-controlled phase III randomized trial to reduce the tumor burden in patients with BCNS. Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) has been classified into four major types and more than 30 subtypes based partly on specific mutations, and best clinical practice guidelines for the management of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in EB have been developed. Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) has been associated with new mutations in genes named OCA5, OCA6, and OCA7, bringing to the total number of culprit genes to seven (OCA1–OCA7).

Summary

Advances in our understanding of genetic conditions that predispose to childhood skin cancer include new disease classification systems, management guidelines, and treatment options.

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