Update: Solar UV Radiation, Vitamin D, and Skin Cancer Surveillance in Organ Transplant Recipients (OTRs)

Skin Cancer

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2020;1268:335-353. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-46227-7_17.


Although great progress has been achieved during the last decades, the clinical management of organ transplant recipients (OTRs) remains a challenge. OTRs need in general lifelong immunosuppressive therapy that is associated with an increased risk to develop skin cancer and with an unfavorable clinical outcome of these malignancies. Skin cancer prevention measures, including regular full-body examinations, are therefore necessary in OTRs to detect and treat suspicious lesions at an early stage.

The frequency of aftercare depends on the individual risk factors of the patient. Patients should apply consistent sun protection with sunscreens and clothing, as well as a monthly self-examination. On the other hand, the need of UVR avoidance increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency, which itself is associated with an increased risk for many diseases, including malignancies. OTRs should therefore be monitored for 25(OH)D status and/or should take vitamin D supplements. It has to be emphasized that an interdisciplinary approach, coordinated by the transplant center, that includes regular skin examinations by a dermatologist, is needed to ensure the best care for the OTRs.