September 26, 2005

Kidney transplantees face higher melanoma risk

By Will Boggs, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who've undergone a
kidney transplant have an increased risk of developing
melanoma, according to a new report.

"There is evidence from previous studies that the
immunosuppression regimen (used after a kidney transplant)
affects the risk of melanoma," Dr. Christopher S. Hollenbeak
told Reuters Health. "We are currently working to identify
specific regimens in the United States Renal Data System
(USRDS) data in order to determine whether risk is associated
with specific agents."

Hollenbeak, from Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey,
Pennsylvania, and his associates used data from the USRDS and
another national database to compare the occurrence of melanoma
among kidney transplant recipients with that reported in the
general population.

The melanoma rate in kidney recipients was 3.6 times that
in the general population, the team reports in the medical
journal Cancer.

The risk was 3.8 times higher in men, 1.9 times higher in
women, and more than 17 times higher in African Americans, the
report indicates.

In men, but not women, the risk of melanoma increased with
age, both in the transplant population and in the general
population, the researchers note.

"I would hope that physicians would understand that the
risk of melanoma is increased in kidney transplant recipients,
particularly among men and African Americans," Hollenbeak said.
"These patients need to be educated about their risk and how to
perform a self examination."

Also, he advised, "follow-up care should be coordinated
with a dermatologist and include routine skin examinations."

SOURCE: Cancer, online September 26, 2005.