Conference Coverage

Which solid organ transplant recipients face the highest risk of skin cancer?



According to the best available data, solid organ transplant recipients (SOTRs) at highest risk for developing skin cancer are thoracic organ recipients, those aged 50 or older at the time of the transplant, and males.

White patients who meet these criteria should be screening within 2 years after transplant, while Black patients should be screened within 5 years after transplant, Ally-Khan Somani, MD, PhD, said at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dr. Ally-Khan Somani, director of dermatologic surgery and the division of cutaneous oncology at Indiana University, Indianapolis.

Dr. Ally-Khan Somani

Dr. Somani, director of dermatologic surgery and the division of cutaneous oncology at Indiana University, Indianapolis, based his remarks on consensus screening guidelines assembled from three rounds of Delphi method surveys with 47 dermatologists and 37 transplant physicians, with the goal of establishing skin cancer screening recommendations for SOTRs. Among the dermatologists surveyed, 45% were Mohs surgeons and 55% were general dermatologists.

The panel recommended that the transplant team should perform risk assessment for SOTRs to risk stratify patients for skin cancer screening (high risk vs. low risk). They also proposed that dermatologists perform skin cancer screening by full-body skin examinations, and that SOTRs with a history of skin cancer should continue with routine skin cancer surveillance as recommended by their dermatologists.

Those at low risk for skin cancer include abdominal organ recipients, SOTR age of younger than 50 at time of transplant, and female gender. The guidelines recommend that White, Asian, and Hispanic patients who meet those criteria should be screened within 5 years after transplant, while no consensus was reached for Black patients who meet those criteria.

Based on posttransplant skin cancer incidence rates, risk is increased among males, Whites, thoracic organ recipients, and being age 50 or older, Dr. Somani said. “At our institution, we make sure there’s a good connection between our transplant teams and dermatologists. We recommend rapid referral for suspicious lesions and we educate patients and screen them within 1 year of transplant, or sooner for high-risk patients. Surveillance is increased to every 3 or 4 months for patients with a history of multiple or high-risk cancers or sooner, followed by routine surveillance as recommended by the patient’s dermatologist.”

To risk stratify patients on the development of their first skin cancer post transplantation, researchers developed the Skin and Ultraviolet Neoplasia Transplant Risk Assessment Calculator (SUNTRAC), a prediction tool with a freely available app. Data for the tool were drawn from the Transplant Skin Cancer Network study, a 5-year analysis of 6,340 adult recipients of a first solid organ transplant at 26 transplant centers in the United States. It generates a risk score for SOTRs (low, medium, high, or very high), which informs transplant care providers of a patient’s risk of skin cancer.

Dr. Somani disclosed that he has received grants and funding from Castle Biosciences. He is an adviser to Cook Biotech and a consultant to Sanara MedTech.

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