Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 185–212 | Cite as

Dermatological Complications After Solid Organ Transplantation

  • Luigi NaldiEmail author
  • Anna Venturuzzo
  • Pietro Invernizzi


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.


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



We are deeply indebted to Dr. Benedetta Terziroli Beretta-Piccoli for her suggestions and the critical revision of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DermatologyAULSS 8 - Ospedale San BortoloVicenzaItaly
  2. 2.Study Center Italian Group for Epidemiologic Research in Dermatology (GISED)BergamoItaly
  3. 3.Division of Gastroenterology and Center for Autoimmune Liver Diseases, Department of Medicine and SurgeryUniversity of Milan-BicoccaMilanItaly

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