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16-02-2012 | Oncology | Article

Nonmelanoma skin cancer common after pancreas transplant


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MedWire News: Nonmelanoma skin cancer is common in patients who undergo pancreas transplantation, say researchers.

"Although much is known about skin cancer in solid-organ transplant recipients, there are scant data on the incidence and severity of skin cancer in pancreas allograft recipients," say Clark Otley (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA) and colleagues.

To investigate further, Otley and team followed up 216 pancreas transplant recipients between 1998 and 2006, assessing the incidence, tumor burden, and risk factors for skin cancer in this group.

Writing in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the team reports that the cumulative incidence of any skin cancer in the participants at 2, 5, and 10 years post-transplantation was 4.7%, 12.7%, and 19.6%, respectively.

When stratified by type of skin cancer, the corresponding cumulative incidence of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) was 2.8%, 10.3%, and 16.7%, and of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) was 2.4%, 7.8%, and 17.4%.

The researchers found that patients with a prior history of skin cancer were at an even higher risk after transplantation, with a cumulative incidence of second SCC and BCC at 2 years of 56% and 36%, respectively.

Regarding risk factors, Otley and co-workers found that only prior skin cancer and older age (per 10 years) significantly predicted any skin cancer following pancreas transplantation, and were associated with 5.84- and 1.59-fold increases in risk, respectively.

"Reduction in ultraviolet [UV] exposure (sun avoidance, UV-protective clothing, and sunscreen use) along with education and self-monitoring are essential," write the authors.

"Frequent evaluation of pancreatic transplant recipients by a health care professional trained in evaluating skin pathology is important in lessening the effect of nonmelanoma skin cancer, which is more easily treated in the early course of the disease," they conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Helen Albert

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