Skin cancer in liver transplant recipients

Liver Transpl. 2000 May;6(3):253-62. doi: 10.1053/lv.2000.6352.


Skin cancer is the most common malignancy arising in the posttransplantation setting. Multiple factors contribute to the high risk for cutaneous carcinoma in immunosuppressed organ-transplant recipients. We review the phenomenon of skin cancer in solid-organ transplant recipients and further delineate the problem in the context of liver transplantation. Skin cancer is a significant medical and surgical problem for organ-transplant recipients. With prolonged allograft function and patient survival, the majority of solid-organ transplant recipients will eventually develop skin cancer. Although squamous cell carcinoma is the most common cutaneous malignancy in this population, basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and Kaposi's sarcoma, as well as uncommon skin malignancies, may occur. Highly susceptible patients may develop hundreds of squamous cell carcinomas, which may be life threatening. Management strategies focus on regular full-skin and nodal examination, aggressive treatment of established malignancies, and prophylactic measures to reduce the risk for additional photodamage and malignant transformation. Skin cancer is a substantial cause of morbidity and even mortality among solid-organ transplant recipients. As a byproduct of immunosuppression, liver transplant recipients experience a high incidence of skin cancer and should be educated and managed accordingly.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Keratosis / etiology
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Postoperative Complications* / immunology
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Tacrolimus