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Cardiac Transplants Tied to Increased Risk of Skin Cancer

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma risk is much higher than in general population

MONDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who have undergone cardiac transplants have an increased risk of developing skin cancer, in particular cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), compared to the general population, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Transplantation.

Murad Alam, M.D., from Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues examined the incidence of skin cancer following cardiac transplantation in the United States. Analysis of data from a 10-year study involving 6,271 cardiac transplants performed at 32 centers associated with the Cardiac Transplant Research Database was carried out.

The investigators found an increased incidence of nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancers in patients who had undergone cardiac transplants. Incidence of cutaneous SCC increased from four- to 30-fold, compared to the equivalent age and gender groups within the general population. The incidence of skin cancer was found to be similar to previous single-center data involving cardiac transplant patients. In a comparison of all-cause mortality for cardiac-transplant patients with basal cell carcinoma, SCC, and melanoma, increased mortality was correlated with melanoma.

"Overall, the risk of skin cancers, especially cutaneous SCC was found to be much higher for transplant recipients than nontransplant recipients of similar age and gender living at comparable latitudes," the authors write.

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