Large Review Confirms Melanoma Risk Up in Immunosuppressed

Findings in transplant recipients and patients with lymphoma, HIV/AIDS

TUESDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Immunosuppressed patients, particularly solid-organ transplant recipients and lymphoma patients, have about a two-fold or higher risk of developing melanoma, according to research published in the October issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Agnieszka W. Kubica and Jerry D. Brewer, M.D., of the Mayo Medical School College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., performed a comprehensive review to summarize the literature on the role of immunosuppression in melanoma and discuss several immunocompromised patient populations in detail, including solid-organ transplant recipients, those with lymphoproliferative disease, those with iatrogenic immunosuppression, and patients with HIV infection/AIDS.

Upon reviewing studies with large numbers of patients and population-based national and international epidemiologic studies, the researchers found an increase in the incidence of melanoma among immunosuppressed patients. The largest studies showed that transplant recipients and lymphoma patients had an approximately two-fold or higher risk of developing melanoma and a higher risk of dying from melanoma. Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia were 2.8-fold more likely to die from metastatic melanoma.

"How you catch melanoma earlier is to be very aware of your skin," Brewer said in a statement. "These patients with immunosuppression should be looking themselves over head-to-toe once a month, they should be seeing a dermatologist once or twice a year, and if they have a lot of other risk factors, maybe more often than that."

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