Skin Cancer a Risk for Nonwhite Recipients of Organ Transplants

A total-body skin examination should be part of posttransplant care for all organ recipients because they have a higher risk of skin cancer, including nonwhite patients, according to a study published online by JAMA Dermatology.
The risk for new skin cancers is magnified over time with continued exposure to immunosuppression after organ transplantation. Although data detail the incidence of skin cancer in patients with darker skin types, the data are limited among nonwhite organ transplant recipients.
Christina Lee Chung, M.D., of Drexel University, Philadelphia, and coauthors described demographic and clinical factors and the risk of skin cancer in nonwhite organ transplant recipients in a medical records review with 413 patients, of whom 62.7 percent were nonwhite organ transplant recipients.
The authors identified 19 new skin cancers in 15 nonwhite patients (5.8 percent): six black patients, five Asian patients and four Hispanic patients. All the skin cancers in black patients were diagnosed at an early stage and most skin cancers in Asian patients were found on sun-exposed areas. While nonmelanoma skin cancers were found in sun-exposed areas and on lower extremities of Hispanic patients, few conclusions can be drawn because of the limited data.
Study limitations include the small proportion of patients with skin cancer.
“Nonwhite organ transplant patients represent a unique group with specialized medical needs; thus, more knowledge on risk factors, appropriate screening methods and counseling points are essential for providing comprehensive dermatologic care for these patients,” the study concludes.
(JAMA Dermatology. Published online September 21, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.3328.