Kidney Transplant Patients May be More Prone to Melanoma

November 1, 2005

Hershey, Pa.--A recently published study indicates that kidney-transplant patients are nearly four times more likely to develop melanoma than the general population.

Hershey, Pa.--A recently published study indicates that kidney-transplant patients are nearly four times more likely to develop melanoma than the general population. The study also says that the risk is greater for men than for women, and that it increases steadily with age.

The study, conducted at the Penn State College of Medicine here, was based on data collected from more than 80,000 patients who underwent a kidney transplant between 1988 and 1998. Among the findings:

  • Kidney-transplant patients had 3.6 times the reported rate of melanoma than is found in the general population (in male recipients the ratio was 3.8, in females, 1.9);

  • Transplant patients who developed melanoma were more likely to be older (mean age, 52.3 years at transplantation) than patients who did not develop melanoma (42.4 years) and white (95.1 percent of melanoma group vs. 73.1 percent of non-melanoma group);

  • Each additional year of age at transplantation increased the odds of melanoma by 5 percent.

"Because they carry an increased risk of melanoma, transplantation recipients should be educated about melanoma in addition to non-melanoma skin carcinomas," wrote the authors of the study, which was published online in October by the journal Cancer.

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