Skin cancer in organ transplant recipients: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and management

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002 Jul;47(1):1-17; quiz 18-20. doi: 10.1067/mjd.2002.125579.


In the United States more than 100,000 people are living with solid organ transplants. The intense immunosuppressive regimens necessary for prolonged survival of allografts significantly increase the rates of both internal and cutaneous malignancies in recipients of solid organ transplants. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in patients after transplantation. Because of the early onset and high tumor burden in transplant recipients, dermatologists have significant challenges in managing the treatment of these patients. This article describes the epidemiology and clinical presentation of skin cancer during posttransplantation immunosuppression, discusses pathogenic cofactors, and reviews the optimal management for mild and severe skin cancer in transplant recipients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Melanoma / epidemiology*
  • Melanoma / therapy
  • Organ Transplantation / methods
  • Organ Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Prevention / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / epidemiology*
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / therapy
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / secondary
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy
  • Survival Rate


  • Immunosuppressive Agents