Risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer with azathioprine use

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2008 Oct;14(10):1425-31. doi: 10.1002/ibd.20444.


While often life-saving for many complex diseases, iatrogenic immunosuppression has been associated with life-threatening infections and malignancies. Among these malignancies is skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States; the nonmelanoma skin cancers have an annual incidence of greater than 1,000,000 people in the US. It is well documented that the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is increased in those who are immunosuppressed. While many articles have been published on skin cancer risk in organ transplant recipients, little has been written regarding the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer in inflammatory bowel disease. A review of the literature of patients who are immunosuppressed for autoimmune disorders, and specifically, inflammatory bowel diseases, is discussed, as well as clinical presentations and treatment options.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Azathioprine / adverse effects*
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Incidence
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Azathioprine