Increased skin cancer incidence in organ transplant recipients and the importance of medical services to adequately treat these patients. 

Research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in March 2016 assessing prevalence of skin cancers in high-risk organ transplant recipients in Queensland. The increased skin cancer incidence in organ transplant recipients (OTRs) is well-known. While long-term survival in organ transplant recipients (OTRs) has improved, the increase in keratinocyte carcinomas that results from their immunosuppression is a tremendous burden to the patient and the healthcare system. These patients often seem to be caught in a never-ending cycle of biopsies, cryosurgeries, curettages, and excisions. This study showed that 27% of high-risk OTRs in Australia had a skin cancer at a given time. We know well that, in this population, the incidence of skin cancer is increased, but period prevalence (proportion of population having disease in a given time window) had not previously been reported. By doing so, the authors are helping to describe in more detail the burden of skin cancer for transplant recipients. “It is important to have medical services available to adequately treat these patients.”  Dr Sarah Churton, Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology March, 2016, in Washington, DC.