Solid Organ Transplantation Tied to Increased Risk of Cancer

Kidney, heart, liver, lung transplants tied to higher infection-related and unrelated cancer risk

TUESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Recipients of kidney, liver, heart, or lung transplants are at an increased risk for both infection-related and unrelated cancers, according to a study published in the Nov. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Eric A. Engels, M.D., M.P.H., from the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues evaluated the overall pattern of cancer following 175,732 solid organ transplants performed between 1987 and 2008. Relative and absolute cancer risks in transplant recipients were assessed using standardized incidence ratios and excess absolute risks, and were compared with the general population.

The investigators found an increased overall risk of cancer with 10,656 cases, and an incidence of 1,375 per 100,000 person years. Risks were elevated for 32 different malignancies, both related and unrelated to known infections. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and cancers of the lung, liver, and kidney were the most common malignancies with elevated risk. Lung recipients had the most elevated lung cancer risk, but the risk also increased significantly among kidney, liver, and heart recipients. Increased risk of liver cancer was only seen among liver recipients, with the first six months having the highest increased risk, and a two-fold excess risk for 10 to 15 years after that. Kidney cancer risk rose in a bimodal pattern in onset time among kidney recipients. Liver and heart recipients also had elevated kidney cancer risks.

"Compared with the general population, recipients of a kidney, liver, heart, or lung transplant have an increased risk for diverse infection-related and unrelated cancers," the authors write.

Several of the study authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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