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Cancer of the head and neck region in solid organ transplant recipients




Solid organ recipients are at an increased risk of developing various malignancies. We investigated the incidence, clinical features, and outcome of patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer after organ transplantation.


A retrospective analysis was undertaken of patients who underwent solid organ transplantation (kidney, liver, lung, heart) treated at our institution from 1992 to 2010.


Of 2817 organ recipients, 175 patients (6.1%) developed 391 head and neck malignancies. Cutaneous malignancies were the most common (93%): squamous cell carcinoma (SCC; 51%) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC; 42%). The average interval from transplantation to diagnosis of head and neck malignancy was 7.3 years, with liver recipients diagnosed earlier. Eighteen percent of patients presented with an aggressive pattern of head and neck cancer, including 24% of patients with cutaneous SCC.


Organ transplantation recipients are at a higher risk to develop head and neck cancer with an aggressive behavior characterized by multiple recurrences and decreased survival. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 36: 181–186, 2014