It is well established that the incidence of nonmelanoma skin carcinoma is increased in renal transplantation recipients. However, existing studies are not in agreement over whether patients who undergo transplantation have an increased risk of melanoma. The objective of this study was to estimate the risk of melanoma among immunosuppressed renal transplantation recipients and to determine whether that risk is associated with patient and transplantation characteristics.
The authors studied 89,786 patients who underwent renal transplantation between 1988 and 1998 using the United States Renal Data System. Age standardized (to the United States 2000 population) incidence rates for melanoma were computed as diagnoses per 100,000 population and were compared with rates from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data. Incidence rates also were stratified to examine differences by age and gender.
Of the 89,786 patients who underwent transplantation, 246 patients developed melanoma. The age-adjusted incidence rate of melanoma among renal transplantation recipients was 55.9 diagnoses per 100,000 population. This represented an increase in age-adjusted, standardized risk that was 3.6 times greater than the SEER population. Stratified analysis suggested that the risk of melanoma accelerated in male transplantation recipients as age increased, but the risk leveled off with age among female transplantation recipients. Finally, there was a trend for patients who experienced at least 1 acute rejection episode to develop melanoma (odds ratio = 1.34; P = 0.059).
Renal transplantation recipients were nearly 3.6 times more likely to develop melanoma than the general population. Physicians who care for renal transplantation recipients should be vigilant in screening for melanoma. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.