Dermatological Complications After Solid Organ Transplantation

Luigi Naldi, Anna Venturuzzo, Pietro Invernizzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Organ transplant recipients (OTRs) are a population at high risk for cutaneous adverse events. Their early recognition and appropriate treatment is an important component of the clinical management of OTRs and should be optimally dealt with by dermatologists working in the context of a transplant dermatology clinic. Skin examination should be a standard procedure before performing organ transplantation to assess conditions which may be difficult to manage after the transplant procedure has been performed or which may represent a contraindication to transplantation, e.g., malignant melanoma. It also offers an opportunity to educate patients on skin care after organ transplantation. Skin infections can occur at any time after organ transplantation and include viral, bacterial, and fungal opportunistic infections. The risk of reactivation of latent viruses, such as varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV), is high. Bacterial infections are frequent and may be caused by unusual agents such Actinomyces, Mycobacteria, Legionella, or Nocardia. A large spectrum of fungal infections may occur, ranging from superficial (e.g., dermatophytes) to deeper and more severe ones (Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cryptococcus, Histoplasma). Drug-related idiosyncratic reactions usually occur early after the introduction of the causative drug, e.g., hypersensitivity reaction to azathioprine. On the long-term run, cutaneous effects due to cumulative drug toxicity, e.g., sebaceous hyperplasia from cyclosporine, may appear. Rare immunologically driven inflammatory reactions may occur in OTRs such as GVH or autoimmune disease. Tumors are particularly frequent. Kaposi’s sarcoma, associated with persistent human herpes virus 8 (HHV8) infection, and cutaneous anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) occur early after transplantation. Other cancers, such as nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSCs), associated with persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, malignant melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, or adnexal tumors, manifest later with an incidence which is much higher than observed in the general population. The incidence increases further after a first NMSC occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalClinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology
StateAccepted/In press - Nov 25 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse reactions
  • Dermatological complications
  • Drug toxicity
  • Immunosuppression
  • Neoplastic complications
  • Solid organ transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


Dive into the research topics of 'Dermatological Complications After Solid Organ Transplantation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this