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Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Frequency and Risk Factors in Australian Heart and Lung Transplant Recipients.

  • De Rosa, Nicholas1, 2
  • Paddon, Vanessa L1
  • Liu, Zhixin3
  • Glanville, Allan R2, 4
  • Parsi, Kurosh1, 2
  • 1 Department of Dermatology, St Vincent's Hospital Sydney, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 2 St Vincent's Clinical School, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 3 Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 4 Department of Thoracic Medicine, St Vincent's Hospital Sydney, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia. , (Australia)
Published Article
JAMA dermatology
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2019
DOI: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.4789
PMID: 30865218


There is limited research examining the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) in heart and lung transplant recipients in Australia. To determine the frequency of and risk factors for NMSC in a cohort of Australian heart and lung transplant recipients. A retrospective cohort study was conducted at an Australian tertiary center where heart and lung transplants are performed between March 21 and December 14, 2016. A consecutive sample of 94 patients who underwent heart and/or lung transplant presenting for outpatient dermatologic review were evaluated. Data analysis was conducted between April 18 and October 30, 2017. Risk factors examined for association with posttransplantation NMSC included age at the time of transplantation, sex, skin phenotype, UV radiation exposure, history of allograft rejection, history of smoking, history of skin cancer prior to transplant, and transplant type. The primary outcome measure was the occurrence of posttransplantation NMSC. The probabilities of developing NMSC in general, and squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma specifically, were separately summarized based on Kaplan-Meier analysis. Association of risk factors with development of NMSC was examined using univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analysis. Of the 94 study participants, 58 (62%) were men; median age at transplantation was 51.9 years (range, 15.1-69.7 years). There were 801 posttransplantation skin cancers in 57 (61%) of the patients who underwent heart and/or lung transplant. The probabilities for NMSC were 41% (95% CI, 31%-53%) at 5 years and 67% (95% CI, 55%-78%) at 10 years; for basal cell carcinoma, 27% (95% CI, 18%-38%) at 5 years and 53% (95% CI, 40%-67%) at 10 years; and for squamous cell carcinoma, 33% (95% CI, 24%-45%) at 5 years and 62% (95% CI, 50%-74%) at 10 years. On multivariable analysis, older age at transplantation was associated with the development of NMSC (hazard ratio [HR], 1.07/1 year; 95% CI, 1.04-1.10; P < .001) and history of pretransplant skin cancer was associated with development of basal cell carcinoma (HR, 4.56; 95% CI, 1.67-12.42; P = .003). A Fitzpatrick skin type III to VI was associated with a decreased risk of NMSC (HR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.24-0.74; P = .003). Sex, transplanted organ, UV radiation exposure, and history of allograft rejection were not associated with an increased risk of skin cancer. In this study of Australian heart and lung transplant recipients, there was a probable high frequency of NMSC. Routine dermatologic surveillance at frequent intervals is advised for similar populations.

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