We have investigated the potential for the p16-cyclin D-CDK4/6-retinoblastoma protein pathway to be exploited as a therapeutic target in melanoma. In a cohort of 143 patients with primary invasive melanoma, we used fluorescence in situ hybridization to detect gene copy number variations (CNVs) in CDK4, CCND1, and CDKN2A and immunohistochemistry to determine protein expression. CNVs were common in melanoma, with gain of CDK4 or CCND1 in 37 and 18% of cases, respectively, and hemizygous or homozygous loss of CDKN2A in 56%. Three-quarters of all patients demonstrated a CNV in at least one of the three genes. The combination of CCND1 gain with either a gain of CDK4 and/or loss of CDKN2A was associated with poorer melanoma-specific survival. In 47 melanoma cell lines homozygous loss, methylation or mutation of CDKN2A gene or loss of protein (p16(INK) (4A) ) predicted sensitivity to the CDK4/6 inhibitor PD0332991, while RB1 loss predicted resistance.