Outcomes in solid organ transplant recipients with a pretransplant diagnosis of melanoma

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American Journal of Transplantation


Melanoma causes significant morbidity in solid organ transplant recipients (SOTRs). Melanomas diagnosed before transplantation can recur with intensive immunosuppression, but outcomes have not been well studied. We evaluated 901 non-Hispanic White SOTRs with a pretransplant melanoma identified using linked transplant and cancer registry data in the United States. Most pretransplant melanomas were invasive (60.7%), and the median time from diagnosis to transplantation was 5.1 years. After transplantation, 41 SOTRs developed a new invasive melanoma, corresponding to 9-fold increased risk compared with the general population (standardized incidence ratio, 9.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 6.6-12). Twenty-two SOTRs died from melanoma after transplantation, corresponding to 52-fold increased risk (standardized mortality ratio, 52; 95% CI, 33-79). Risk factors for posttransplant melanoma included age at transplantation (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 2.86; 95% CI, 1.24-6.60; for age 55+ vs < 55 years) and maintenance immunosuppression with cyclosporine/azathioprine (adjusted HR, 2.53; 95% CI, 1.08-5.90). Melanoma mortality was strongly elevated after a posttransplant melanoma diagnosis (HR, 35.6; 95% CI, 14.0-90.4; adjusted for cyclosporine/azathioprine maintenance therapy and calendar year of transplantation). In conclusion, SOTRs with a pretransplant melanoma are at risk of adverse melanoma-related outcomes after transplantation. These findings support thorough dermatologic evaluation prior to transplantation and frequent posttransplant surveillance.

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