Risk of second malignancies in solid organ transplant recipients who develop keratinocyte cancers

Rachel D. Zamoiski, Elizabeth Yanik, Todd M. Gibson, Elizabeth K. Cahoon, Margaret M. Madeleine, Charles F. Lynch, Sally Gustafson, Marc T. Goodman, Melissa Skeans, Ajay K. Israni, Eric A. Engels, Lindsay M. Morton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Solid organ transplant recipients have increased risk for developing keratinocyte cancers, including cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC), in part as a result of immunosuppressive medications administered to prevent graft rejection. In the general population, keratinocyte cancers are associated with increased risks of subsequent malignancy, however, the risk in organ transplant populations has not been evaluated. We addressed this question by linking the U.S. Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, which includes data on keratinocyte cancer occurrence, with 15 state cancer registries. Risk of developing malignancies after keratinocyte cancer was assessed among 118,440 Caucasian solid organ transplant recipients using multivariate Cox regression models. Cutaneous SCC occurrence (n = 6,169) was associated with 1.44-fold increased risk [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.31–1.59] for developing later malignancies. Risks were particularly elevated for non-cutaneous SCC, including those of the oral cavity/pharynx (HR, 5.60; 95% CI, 4.18–7.50) and lung (HR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.16–2.31). Cutaneous SCC was also associated with increased risk of human papillomavirus-related cancers, including anal cancer (HR, 2.77; 95% CI, 1.29–5.96) and female genital cancers (HR, 3.43; 95% CI, 1.44–8.19). In contrast, BCC (n = 3,669) was not associated with overall risk of later malignancy (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.87–1.12), including any SCC. Our results suggest that transplant recipients with cutaneous SCC, but not BCC, have an increased risk of developing other SCC. These findings somewhat differ from those for the general population and suggest a shared etiology for cutaneous SCC and other SCC in the setting of immunosuppression. Cutaneous SCC occurrence after transplantation could serve as a marker for elevated malignancy risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4196-4203
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

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©2017 AACR.


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