The Incidence and Risk Factors of De Novo Skin Cancer in the Liver Transplant Recipients

JM Modaresi Esfeh, IA Hanouneh, D Dalal, A Tabba, R Lopez, M Pagadala, B Eghtesad, NN Zein


Background: Liver transplantation (LT) increases the risk of de novo malignancies including skin cancers. However, risk factors for this type of cancers have not been well studied.

Objective: To determine the incidence of skin cancer in LT recipients, and to identify the risk factors of this type of cancer.

Methods: We identified all adult patients who underwent LT and developed de novo skin cancer post-LT at our institution between 1996 and 2009. We excluded the patients with history of skin cancer prior to LT. We also studied a control group of patients who underwent LT during the same period but did not develop skin cancer; the control group was matched (1:2) for age, gender and geographical place of residence.

Results: Over a median (IQR) follow-up of 41.5 (18.0, 98.6) months, 23 (2.3%) of 998 patients developed skin cancer post-LT, of whom 10 were identified with squamous cell carcinoma, 9 with basal cell carcinoma and 4 with melanoma. After adjusting the confounding variables, subjects who had combined liver/kidney transplant had 22 (95% CI: 5.1–99) times higher hazard of skin cancer compared to subjects with LT alone. Furthermore, patients who had non-skin cancer prior to LT had 23 (95% CI: 8.6–60) times higher hazard developing skin cancer after the transplant. Patients with history of alcohol consumption, as the underlying etiology of liver disease, had 4 (95% CI: 1.2–12.9) times higher hazard of developing skin cancer after transplantation. Type or duration of immunosuppression was not associated with increased risk of skin cancer post-LT. The post-LT survival outcome was not affected by the development of de novo skin cancer post-LT.

Conclusion: Skin cancer is relatively common in LT recipients and should be monitored, particularly in patients with a history of pretransplant malignancy, recipients of combined liver and kidney transplant or having alcoholic cirrhosis as the underlying cause of liver disease.


Liver transplantation; de novo malignancy; skin cancer

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 pISSN: 2008-6482
 eISSN: 2008-6490


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