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Australas J Dermatol. 2007 Nov;48(4):199-207.

Melanoma in organ transplant recipients: the old enemy finds a new battleground.

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Department of Medicine (Dermatology), St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia.


Population registry data and published studies have demonstrated that melanomas in the transplant population occur 1.6-2.5 times more commonly compared with the general population. Studies examining possible risk factors have suggested that in this patient population, there is an increased number of melanocytic naevi. Whether this phenomenon is aetiologically related to subsequent melanoma development is currently unclear. Only one study examined the prognosis of melanomas in this population. The Israel Penn International Transplant Tumor Registry has collated patient data voluntarily submitted by transplant physicians throughout the USA since 1968. Analysis of melanomas in this study found that approximately half were Breslow thickness >1.51 mm. Overall, there was a high rate of nodal and distant metastases, with poorer 1-, 3- and 5-year survival rates compared with the general population. There is a paucity of good-quality evidence regarding melanoma in organ transplant recipients. Further research involving international collaborative trials, particularly on risk factors and the prognosis of melanomas in this population, could present a more substantial evidence base from which treatment guidelines based on data could be developed.

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