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N Engl J Med. 1995 Apr 20;332(16):1052-7.

Increased prevalence of dysplastic and malignant lip lesions in renal-transplant recipients.

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Department of Oral Medicine and Periodontology, London Hospital Medical College, United Kingdom.



Renal-transplant recipients are known to have increased rates of skin cancer associated with exposure to the sun. Little is known, however, about the prevalence and histologic features of lesions of the lips in these patients, or about risk factors for such lesions.


We examined the lips of 160 renal-transplant recipients (105 men and 55 women; mean [+/- SD] age, 48 +/- 13 years) and 160 normal subjects matched with the transplant recipients for age, sex, and skin type. The mean length of time between transplantation and the examination was 69 +/- 52 months; 58 percent of the recipients had received their grafts more than 60 months earlier.


Among the 160 renal-transplant recipients, 21 (13 percent) had leukoplakia; in 2 (1.2 percent) the leukoplakia contained squamous-cell carcinoma. In contrast, only one normal subject (0.6 percent) had leukoplakia. Histologically, 13 of the 21 leukoplakias (62 percent) in the renal-transplant recipients who underwent biopsy were dysplastic, and 2 (10 percent) contained squamous-cell carcinoma. Actinic change was evident in 91 percent of the dysplastic lesions but not in the nondysplastic lesions (P < 0.001). Exposure to the sun and smoking were risk factors for dysplastic and malignant lip lesions in the renal-transplant recipients (P < 0.001 and P = 0.003, respectively). Among these recipients, only men had dysplastic or malignant lip lesions (P = 0.006); lipstick was used frequently by 73 percent of the women. The clinical appearance of lip lesions did not predict the presence of dysplasia or cancer.


Renal-transplant recipients have an increased prevalence of leukoplakia, dysplasia, and cancer of the lip.

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