Skin Cancer in Kidney Transplant Recipients: Incidence and Association with Clinical and Demographic Factors

João Borges-Costa, João Pedro Vasconcelos, Ana Rita Travassos, José Guerra, Alice Santana, André Weigert, Manuel Sacramento Marques


Introduction and Objectives: Organ transplanted recipients have a higher risk of non melanoma skin cancer. Our objectives were to determine incidence of skin cancer and search for associations with clinical or demographic factors in a series of kidney transplant recipients. Materials and Methods: A prospective study with face-to-face interview of 127 kidney transplant recipients who were observed for the first time during the second half of 2010 and in 2011. All diagnosed skin cancers were confirmed by histopathology. A 5% significance level was used and statistical analysis performed with chi-square, Fisher´s exact test or Mann Whitney test. Results: The mean age was 53 (s = 12.98) and 67% were males. The mean number of years since the transplant was 8 (s = 4.61) and skin cancer was observed in 16% (20 / 127), with equal number of basaliomas and squamous cell carcinoma. In sun exposed areas, actinic keratoses and viral warts were present in 24% and 8%, respectively. Skin cancer was significantly associated with older age (p = 0.016), longer duration of immunosuppression (p = 0.003) as well as with previous outdoor work (p = 0.049) or actinic keratoses in sun exposed areas (p < 0.001). Present intake of azathioprine (n = 8) was the only medication associated with skin cancer (p = 0.035 in Fisher´s exact test). Conclusions: Skin cancer incidence is high in our series and education about photoprotection should be given to these patients, as well as regular dermatologic surveillance. This regular follow up improves compliance with photoprotection measures and helps to decrease the incidence of non melanoma skin cancer.

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