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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2000 Mar;19(3):249-55.

Skin cancer in heart transplant recipients: frequency and risk factor analysis.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.



The frequency of skin cancer is increased among organ transplant recipients, but the predisposing risk factors are controversial. It is also unclear whether heart transplant patients face an increased risk compared to recipients of other organs, e.g. kidney transplants.


We performed univariate and multivariate analysis of risk factors for skin cancer in 252 heart transplants and in a control series of 228 kidney transplants followed up at a single center. An extensive dermatologic examination was carried out; baseline features, type of immunosuppression, number of 3A rejection episodes, extent of sunlight exposure and skin type were recorded. Multivariate analysis (Cox regression) included: age at transplantation, sex, skin type (Fitzpatrick's criteria), presence of solar keratosis, presence of warts, type of organ, sunlight exposure.


During follow up skin cancer was more common among heart transplants (40, 16 %) than in kidney transplants (16, 7%, p = 0.004). The cumulative incidence of skin cancer by life table analysis increased from 16% after 5 years to 33% after 10 years in heart transplant patients and from 6% to 17% in kidney transplants (p 10000 hours (relative risk = 2.8), but not organ type were significant risk factors.


Age at transplant, skin type and sunlight exposure, but not type of organ and type of immunosuppressive regimen, are associated with increased risk of skin cancer in heart transplantation.

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