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Exp Clin Transplant. 2018 Mar;16 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):95-100. doi: 10.6002/ect.TOND-TDTD2017.O36.

Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers in Solid-Organ Transplant Recipients: A Single Center Experience.

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From the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Baskent University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.



Skin cancers are one of the most common malignancies in solid-organ transplant recipients. Increased age and immunosuppressive drug use are risk factors for posttransplant skin malignancies. We evaluated nonmelanocytic skin cancer incidence and development time in transplant patients.


We reviewed 1833 patients who received kidney, liver, and heart grafts between 1996 and 2016 at Baskent University. We excluded melanocytic skin cancers, premalignant lesions, and benign skin tumors.


Of 1833 patients, 1253 were male (68.4%) and 580 were female (31.6%), composed of 1133 kidney (61.8%), 512 liver (27.9%), and 120 heart recipients (6.5%). Of these, 22 patients (18 kidney/3 liver/1 heart) developed 23 different types of skin cancer. Prevalence of skin cancer was 1.20%. Mean age at presentation was 55.8 years (range, 37-71 y). Average time from transplant to skin malignancy was 6.1 years (range, 1-13 y), with the most common being basal cell carcinoma (43%, 10 cases), followed by squamous cell carcinoma (39%, 9 cases) and Kaposi sarcoma (13%, 3 cases). Tumor sites included head and neck (15 case), trunk (2 cases), lower extremity (2 cases), and upper extremity (2 cases). Neither local recurrence nor distant metastasis was shown.


Skin cancer risk is increased in solid-organ transplant recipients versus the general population. Although squamous cell carcinoma is the most common tumor in this patient population, followed by basal cell carcinoma, we found this reversed in our patients. The low prevalence of skin malignancy (1.20%) may be associated with close clinical follow-up to detect premalignant skin lesions and the lowdose immunosuppressive drug regimen. We believe that local recurrence and distant metastasis were absent because we use a wide surgical margin of excision and provide strict follow-up. Routine dermatologic follow-up visits of transplant recipients are recommended to detect and treat early skin cancer and premalignant lesions and thus lower morbidity and mortality.

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