From the Journals

Study finds higher risk of skin cancer after childhood organ transplant



Intervention studies needed

The increased risk of KC probably stems largely from immunosuppression, said Dr. Sibbald in an interview. “We know [this is the case] in the older population, and it’s likely true in the younger population as well that it’s one of the primary drivers,” she said.

More research to extensively analyze risk factors should come next, she said. This includes “the granularity of what [immunosuppressants and other] medications are received, and at what dose and for what periods of time, so we can calculate cumulative exposure and its relation to risk,” she said.

Kristin Bibee, MD, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore

Dr. Kristin Bibee

Kristin Bibee, MD, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said she’d like to see further studies “evaluate appropriate interventions, like sun-protective behavior in childhood and adolescence or immunosuppression modulation, to prevent malignancy development.”

The optimal time and intensity of screening for young transplant recipients must still be determined, both Dr. Bibee and Dr. Arron said. Patients deemed through further research to be at higher risk may need earlier and/or more intensive surveillance.

The role of race in skin cancer risk in this population is “one question the study leaves open,” said Dr. Arron. U.S. studies have shown that among adult transplant recipients White patients are “at highest risk for the ultraviolet-associated melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma, followed by Asian and Latino patients. African Americans have had the lowest risk, but some still developed skin cancer after transplant,” she said.

Prior studies of cancer in pediatric transplant recipients have reported primarily on internal malignant neoplasms, with limited data on KC, Dr. Sibbald and coauthors wrote. It is possible the incidence of KS is underestimated in the new study because of “undiagnosed or unreported KCs,” they noted.

The new study was funded by a grant from the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance and a Hospital for Sick Children grant. In disclosures, Dr. Sibbald reported to JAMA Dermatology receiving grants from the alliance and from Paediatric Consultants Partnership during the conduct of the study. Dr. Arron and Dr. Bibee both said they have no disclosures relevant to the study and its content.


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