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Keywords:

  • mTOR inhibitor;
  • nonmelanoma skin cancer;
  • renal transplant;
  • renal transplant recipient;
  • sirolimus;
  • skin tumors

Renal transplant recipients (RTR) have a 50–200-fold higher risk for nonmelanoma-skin cancer (NMSC) causing high rates of morbidity and sometimes mortality. Cohort-studies gave evidence that a sirolimus-based immunosuppression may inhibit skin tumor growth. This single-center, prospective, assessor-blinded, randomized trial investigated if switching to sirolimus treatment inhibits the progression of premalignancies and moreover how many new NMSC occur compared to continuation of the original immunosuppressive therapy. Forty-four RTR (mean age 59.9 years, mean duration of immunosuppression 229.5 months) with skin lesions were randomized to sirolimus or continuation of their original immunosuppression. Blinded dermatological assessment at month 6 and 12 by the same dermatologist evaluated the clinical change compared to baseline. Biopsy was performed in suspected malignancy. Already the 6-month-assessment showed significant superiority of sirolimus-therapy: a stop of progression, even regression of preexisting premalignancies (p < 0.0005). This effect was increased at month 12 (p < 0.0001). Nine patients developed histologically confirmed NMSC: one in the sirolimus group, eight in the control group, p = 0.0176. Sirolimus-based immunosuppression in RTR, even when established many years after transplantation, can delay the development of premalignancies, induce regression of preexisting lesions and decelerate the incidence of new NMSC.