The number of organ transplant recipients (OTR) is growing steadily thanks to the improvements in organ preservation, transplantation surgery and immunosuppressive treatments. For the graft to function well it requires patients to be, in most cases, on lifelong immunosuppressive treatment. As a consequence, these patients have a high risk for developing various malignancies, namely those associated with viruses. Skin cancers, especially squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), account for the most frequent malignancies, affecting about 50% of patients within 20 years of transplantation. SCC tend to be multiple, may have a life-threatening course and seem to be a hallmark for developing other malignancies. Risk factors for skin carcinomas include ultraviolet light, immunosuppression, age, fair skin type, genetic factors and human papillomavirus infection. The frequency of skin carcinomas could be decreased by adequately educating patients regarding sun protection after transplantation. The incidence of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), associated with a recently discovered virus (KS-associated herpesvirus/Human Herpes Virus 8), lymphomas, melanomas, anogenital carcinoma and some other rare tumors (such as Merkel cell carcinomas and sarcomas) is also increased in patients receiving immunosuppression, and may have an aggressive course.
American Journal of Cancer – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 9, 2012
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