Management of skin cancer in solid organ transplant recipients


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Fiona O’Reilly, MD, Department of Dermatology, Emory University School of Medicine, 5001 Woodruff Circle, Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30322, or email:


ABSTRACT:  The incidence of catastrophic skin cancer in the solid organ transplant population continues to rise. As transplant patients are living longer, it is likely that dermatologists will be looking after an increasing number of organ transplant recipients. The key to managing this patient population lies in a multidisciplinary approach encompassing patient education, skin screening in the immediate post-transplant period, regular follow-up, and rapid referral to a dermatologist once skin lesions suspicious for skin cancer are diagnosed. Of paramount importance is discussion with transplant physicians to negotiate reduction of immunosuppression in the setting of catastrophic skin cancer. This article defines the scope of the problem of skin cancer in the solid organ transplant population, defines the nature of the lesions commonly presented, and reinforces the benefit of a multidisciplinary approach in the management of these patients.