Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers Coverage from Every Angle

Risk Factors by Skin Cancer Type Among Recipients of Organ Transplants

By: Anna Nowogrodzki
Posted: Monday, July 19, 2021

Among recipients of organ transplants who went on to develop non-melanoma skin cancer, female sex was associated with an increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma compared with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, based on a research letter published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. According to Fergal J. Moloney, MB, BAO, BCH, of University College, Dublin, and colleagues: “Further studies are required to explore whether different patterns of UV exposure or different responses to immunosuppression in male and female organ transplant recipients might explain our findings.”

The study included 3,580 organ-transplant recipients from 1994 to 2014, drawn from the Irish National Cancer Registry matched with data from national transplant centers. Of these patients, 231 (6%) had cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma alone, 239 (7%) had basal cell carcinoma alone, 174 (5%) had both, and 2,936 (82%) had neither. Median follow-up was 7.1 years.

Compared with men, women were at increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma alone rather than cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma alone (relative risk ratio = 1.99). Three other factors showed no significant effect on cancer type: type of organ transplant, year of transplant, and follow-up time.

One limitation of the study is that the authors did not adjust for non-registry variables that could disparately affect the risk of the different types of skin cancer. For example, they did not adjust for immunosuppressive protocols, skin type, or previous UV exposure.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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