Keratinocyte cancer prevention with ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers or their combination in renal transplant recipients

Clin Nephrol. 2010 Jun;73(6):439-45. doi: 10.5414/cnp73439.


Background: Skin cancer (SC) is the most frequent malignancy after renal transplantation (RT), especially squamous and basal cell carcinoma. The observation that angiotensin II is a potent angiogenic and growth factor raises the possibility that blocking its effects could reduce the incidence of skin cancer.

Objectives: To evaluate the incidence of keratinocyte cancer in RT recipients, the timing of occurrence of the skin events after RT; to compare the incidence of SC in our RT recipients and in RT patients on angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi), angiotensin receptor blockers therapy (ARBs) and their combination. Risk factors were also evaluated.

Results: During follow up, 52 of 565 patients (9.2%), 38 males 14 females, developed SC at a median time of 59 months (range 29 - 74) after RT. 12 of 52 patients (23%) with SC were on ACEi, ARBs therapy or their combination. The incidence was significantly lower in user patients compared to non user (5.6% and 11.4% respectively). BCC was the most frequent type of keratinocyte cancer in non users and in users. No association with incidence of BCC or SCC was observed for other classes of antihypertensive drugs (calcium antagonists, beta-blockers, alpha-blockers).

Conclusion: This study confirms that RT patients are at high risk of SC. The use of ACEi or ARBs is associated with an approximately two-fold reduced risk of Keratinocyte cancers compared to non users in RT recipients. We did not observe an association between the incidence of SC and the use of other classes of antihypertensive drugs. Any chemoprotective effect of these agents may reflect inhibition of the growth factor activity of angiotensin II. Use of ACEi or ARBs, when this is possible, should be considered in RT patients with multiple risk factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists*
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Receptors, Angiotensin / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*


  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Angiotensin