Solid organ transplant recipients (SOTRs) are at an increased risk of epithelial malignancies, mainly squamous cell carcinoma, and its precursor lesions such as actinic keratoses, warts, and porokeratosis, which may respond to retinoid therapy.
To review the published evidence on the efficacy and safety of topical and systemic retinoids for the treatment and prophylaxis of malignant and premalignant conditions that mostly afflict SOTRs.
Systematic review of the literature to summarize the level of evidence and grade of recommendation for retinoid therapy with emphasis in the SOTR population.
Acitretin has the highest strength of recommendation (Grade A) for prophylaxis of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) and treatment and prophylaxis of actinic keratoses in SOTR. In nonimmunosuppressed patients, acitretin and isotretinoin have a Grade B recommendation for treatment of recalcitrant warts. Topical retinoids have not shown efficacy in preventing NMSC in immunocompetent patients.
Retinoids constitute a highly efficacious alternative for the management of the most common conditions that affect SOTRs. Acitretin has the most robust evidence for chemoprophylaxis in SOTRs. Knowledge about the specific indications and expected side effects of topical and systemic retinoids may help optimize their therapeutic potential.
*College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida;
†Department of Dermatology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida
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