Keratotic Lesions Signal Skin Cancer Risk After Transplant

Number of lesions is clinical predictor of squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma risk

THURSDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Keratotic skin lesions are strongly associated with skin cancers in organ transplant patients, and the greater the number of lesions the higher the risk, according to the results of a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. In addition, other major risk factors include childhood sunburns and skin type.

Jan N. Bouwes Bavinck, M.D., Ph.D., of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a case-control study of 915 patients in five countries who had undergone solid organ transplant.

The squamous cell carcinoma risk was associated with keratotic lesions (adjusted odds ratio, 4.1 and 12.1 for one to 49 lesions and 50 or more lesions, respectively), as was basal cell carcinoma risk (OR, 2.9 and 4.0 for one to 49 lesions and 50 or more lesions, respectively). Additional risk factors included fair skin and childhood sunburn. Immunosuppression was not found to be a significant risk in this study although different regimens in different centers and different types of organs did not allow for definitive comparison.

"The number of keratotic skin lesions is, by far, the most objective clinical criterion predictive of an increased risk of squamous and basal cell carcinoma in organ-transplant recipients," the authors conclude. "Age and time period after transplantation are other useful criteria to estimate the risk of skin cancer."

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