Organ transplantation is life-saving for patients with end-stage organ failure, and it is one of the greatest advancements in medicine. There have been major improvements in immunosuppressive medications, transplant surgery and management of organ transplant recipient, leading to increased long-term survival and quality of life of those patients.
On the other hand, the increased rates of malignancies and infections due to immunosuppressive state remain major problems in these patients. In fact, malignancy is one of the most common causes of posttransplant mortality, and the most common posttransplant cancers are cutaneous in origin. Infections in those immunocompromised patients can sometimes be caused by unusual microoganism, present with nonspecific or atypical cutaneous findigs, and may sometimes be life-threatening.
We, as dermatologists, need to know that the prevention and management of skin cancers in organ transplant recipients follows the general principles including patient education about sun protection and skin
self-examination; but we should also keep a high index of suspicion for recurrences, multiple tumors, and high risk for metastasis in those patients. For that reason, a regular follow up is necessary in organ transplant recipients.
As skin is a window into a person`s overall health, we also need to remember that finding the subtle cutaneous clue on time may reveal the underlying life-threatening systemic infection in organ transplant patients and early treatment can save lives. Management of transplant recipients definately requires an interdisciplinary collaboration.
Outside transplantation increasing numbers of patients are also long-term immunosuppressed, e.g. patients with rheumatoid arthritism inflammatory bowel disease and chronic lymphatic leukaemia. these patient groups will also be the focus of SCOPE.
Thank you for your interest in transplant dermatology and SCOPE!
President European SCOPE Network