Kidney transplant patients at risk for skin cancer

October 6, 2005

Patients who receive a kidney transplant are nearly four times more likely than the general population to develop melanoma, according to a study conducted at Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA.

Patients who receive a kidney transplant are nearly four times more likely than the general population to develop melanoma, according to a study conducted at Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA.

The study's authors, led by Christopher Hollenbeak, PhD, discovered increased risk for patients who undergo kidney transplantation and who receive long-term immunosuppression. Risk was highest overall in men----increasing with age----but significantly lower in women and African-Americans.

Researchers compared melanoma incidence rates from a registry of 89,786 renal transplant patients with melanoma incidence rates from general population data. They found that renal transplant recipients are 3.6 times more likely to develop melanoma than the general population. Though some melanomas will develop immediately after transplant, risk continues to increase approximately 5% per year from date of transplant.

Men who have had a kidney transplant are at greatest risk for melanoma, and risk of melanoma increases rapidly with age. In contrast, while female kidney transplant recipients are also at increased risk, their risk is significantly lower than men and does not increase with age, according to the study, to be published in the Nov. 1 issue of Cancer.