Organ transplant recipients (OTRs) may be at risk of developing multiple skin cancers, according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology.

Researchers found that roughly half of OTRs diagnosed with skin cancer after transplant developed a subsequent skin cancer within 2 years, and about 5% developed 10 or more skin cancers.

For this study, researchers evaluated data from the Optum electronic health record (EHR) data set and the Truven Health MarketScan insurance claims data set. Data from both sources spanned the period from 2007 to 2017.

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There were 7390 OTRs in the Optum data set, 4.5% of whom had undergone treatment for at least 1 skin cancer. And there were 133,651 OTRs in the MarketScan data set, 13.3% of whom had received at least 1 skin cancer treatment.

At 2 years after the first skin cancer diagnosis, the incidence of subsequent skin cancer ranged from 44% to 57% between the data sets. The incidence of 10 or more skin cancers ranged from 3.7% to 6.6%.

Older age, history of skin cancer, and history of actinic keratosis were independently associated with the risk of subsequent skin cancer in both data sets. Male sex and previous thoracic transplant were associated with subsequent skin cancer in the MarketScan data set only.

“In this retrospective cohort study, results from large EHR and claims data sets indicate that, after a post-transplant skin cancer, up to 1 of 2 OTRs may get another skin cancer, and 1 of 20 may get at least 10 skin cancers within 2 years of an initial post-transplant skin cancer treatment,” the researchers wrote.

Disclosures: One study author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures. 


Wehner MR, Niu J, Wheless L, et al. Risks of multiple skin cancers in organ transplant recipients: A cohort study in 2 administrative data sets. JAMA Dermatol. Published online October 20, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2021.4148

This article originally appeared on Cancer Therapy Advisor