Head and neck cancer in transplant recipients

Christine G. Gourin, David J. Terris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: Transplant recipients have an increased incidence of cancer compared with the general population. Head and neck sites are involved in more than 50% of patients, and as a result the otolaryngologist should be familiar with the diagnosis and management of posttransplant malignancies. Recent findings: Skin cancer is the most common malignancy encountered in the transplant population, and in areas of high sun exposure, as many as 80% of patients are affected. Patients who undergo liver transplantation for alcoholic cirrhosis appear to be at particularly increased risk for developing posttransplant malignancy of the head and neck. A number of uncommon malignancies such as Kaposi's sarcoma occur with a greatly increased incidence in transplant recipients. Malignancy in this patient population tends to present at a younger age compared with the general population, with a more aggressive course and poorer outcomes reported. Summary: A high index of suspicion may reduce morbidity and mortality through early detection of malignant disease in the transplant recipient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-126
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004


  • Head and neck cancer
  • Posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease
  • Skin cancer
  • Squamous cell cancer
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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