Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Premaligant and malignant epithelial lesions are acknowledged as being the most frequent neoplasia in long-term immunosuppressed patients such as organ-transplant recipients. Paralleling the constant improvement in modern transplant techniques, their incidence increases together with the growing survival time post-transplantation, reaching 40% to 60% after 20 years. Against the background of lifelong immunosuppression, the impact of accepted cancer inducers and promoters such as ultraviolet radiation, oncogenic viruses and individual susceptibility has to be closely scrutinized. Precancerous lesions such as actinic keratoses in transplant patients progress more rapidly into squamous cell carcinomas, showing an increased tendency to metastasize. As it remains impossible to identify and consequently treat those lesions that may progress into invasive carcinoma, the best prophylaxis for nonmelanoma skin cancer in organ-transplant recipients may be the treatment of all existing precancerous lesions. As reduction of the immunosuppressive therapy is rarely practicable, other terms of prophylaxis and treatment, such as immune response modifiers, have to be considered.
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