Background: The risk of skin cancer is highly increased in kidney-transplant recipients (KTR), but the risk of subsequent skin cancers is less well studied. The aim of this study was to estimate the cumulative incidence of subsequent squamous- and basal-cell carcinomas (BCCs) and to analyze potential risk factors.
Methods: All histologically confirmed skin cancers between 1966 and 2006 were included in the study and counted. Cumulative incidences of subsequent squamous- and BCCs were calculated using Kaplan-Meier survival analyses. For the analyses of risk factors, we used Cox proportional hazard analyses.
Results: A total of 239 (13%) of 1906 KTR developed skin cancer of whom 222 were diagnosed in our hospital. Altogether 167 (75%) of these 222 patients developed multiple skin cancers. The cumulative incidence of a second skin cancer increased from 32%, 1 year, to 59%, 3 years, and 72%, 5 years after the first skin cancer. KTR who started with squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC) mainly developed SCC and recipients who started with BCC mainly developed BCC as second skin cancer. Immunosuppression with azathioprine in combination with prednisone was associated with a significantly increased risk of subsequent SCCs but not with subsequent BCCs.
Conclusion: Skin cancer multiplicity is common in KTR. Patients with a first skin cancer are at increased risk for more skin cancers and need to be carefully checked for subsequent skin cancers.