A retrospective analysis of dermatological lesions in kidney transplant patients

Michela Castello, Marilena Gregorini, Teresa Rampino, Francesca Bosio, Giulia Bedino, Giovanni Piotti, Grazia Soccio, Pasquale Esposito, Catherine Klersy, Massimo Abelli, Giovanni Borroni, Antonio Dal Canton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & objectives: Kidney transplantation is the best option for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) failure. Prolonged use of immunosuppressive drugs often causes opportunistic infections and malignancies of skin and mucosae, but due to lack of a careful dermatological screening in several transplantation centers the diagnosis and the treatment of dermatological lesions in kidney transplant patients are underestimated. In addition after the introduction of interleukin (IL)-2 -receptor antagonists (basiliximab/daclizumab), mTOR inhibitors and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF)/mycophenolic acid (MPA) in new immunosuppressive protocols only a few studies have analyzed the skin and mucosal lesions in kidney transplant patients. This study was undertaken to evaluate the cutaneous and mucosal diseases after kidney transplantation, and to investigate the association between these and different immunosuppressive protocols and/or demographic features. Methods: A retrospective analysis was done using medical records of kidney transplantation between 2000 and 2009 at the Transplant Unit of Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy. The study included 183 patients (M 57.3%, F 42.7%) aged 51.5±11.8 yr) with transplant age 52.3±34.9 months. Induction therapy was basiliximab and steroids based; maintenance therapy included combination-regimes from cyclosporine, tacrolimus, steroids, mycophenolate mofetil (MM), mycophenolic acid (MPA), rapamycin, everolimus. Anti-rejection therapy was steroid and/or thymoglobulines based. Diagnosis of cutaneous disease was made through examination of skin, mucous membranes, nails and hair evaluation. Skin biopsies, specifc cultures and serological tests were done when required. Results: Skin and mucosal diseases were reported in 173 (95.7%) of patients; 88 (50.81%) showed viral lesions; 92 (53.01%) immunosuppression-related lesions; 28 (16.39%) benign tumours; 26 (15.3%) precancers /neoplastic lesions; 24 (14.21%) mycosis; 16 (9.29%) cutaneous xerosis, 15 (8.74%) dermatitis, while absence of cutaneous disease was evident only in 8 (4.37%) cases. An association between drug side effects and anti-rejection treatment (P≤0.01) and/or calcineurin-inhibitors (CNI) exposure (P≤0.01) was found. Longer exposure to immunosuppressive drugs (>60 months) was associated with pre-malignancy and malignancy lesions. Interpretation & conclusions: Cutaneous diseases are frequent in kidney transplanted patients. Continuous skin monitoring is necessary to make an early diagnosis and to start appropriate treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1188-1192
Number of pages5
JournalIndian Journal of Medical Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Immunosuppression
  • Kidney transplant
  • Skin lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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