Kidney transplant medications may raise skin cancer risk, RCSI

March 7, 2019

Kidney transplants are a regular procedure for kidney failure. However, caution is needed – a collaborative study by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and national representatives from Beaumont Hospital has suggested an increased risk of skin cancer in kidney transplant patients.

The3,821 deceased and living patients analysed by RCSI had either one, two, or three kidney transplants. The rate of skin cancer rose by 15 times during the patient’s first kidney transplant, and then fell by half when the transplant failed and the patient returned to dialysis; however, the rate was still seven times higher than the pre-transplant rate. When the patient received a second transplant, the rate of skin cancer rose again to 12.8 times more than pre-transplant rate.

In short, the rates fall in a failed transplant, rise again upon receiving another transplant, and remain high in patients with failed transplants. This pattern relates the skin cancer risk to the use of anti-rejection medications in kidney transplants.

Professor Peter Conlon, Associate Professor of Medicine at RCSI, has noted the comprehensive analysis of cancer risk of multiple kidney transplants in the same individuals.

The findings have prompted lead study author Dr. Donal Sexton, from the Department of Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation, Beaumont Hospital, RCSI, to call for continued cancer surveillance in instances of graft failure.

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Category: Features, Health alert

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