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Liver transplant recipients have higher cancer risk
Date:11/3/2008

because liver cancer and non-melanoma skin cancers were excluded from the analysis.

"A striking finding in our study is the approximate twenty-fold increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among liver transplant patients relative to the general population," the authors report. "As a proportion of all cancers, it represented 55.8 percent of the absolute excess number of cancers among liver transplant patients."

Also of note, they found an increased risk of colorectal cancer among liver transplant recipients relative to the Canadian general population, perhaps attributable to a higher prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease among the patients. Finally, they found that elevated cancer risk was most pronounced during the first year of follow-up.

"Our findings firmly support an increased incidence of cancer in this patient population," the authors conclude. "We recommend increased surveillance for cancer in these patients, and screening for colorectal cancer using modalities for which benefits are already well recognized."

An accompanying editorial by Joseph F. Buell of the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine agrees that as long-term survival increases for transplant recipients, cancer is becoming the predominant threat to patient longevity. "This study highlights several important observations," writes Buell. The increased incidence of cancer appears to be directly related to the intensity and length of immunosuppression, and the link between viral infection and malignancy is strong.

"Currently, two immunosuppressive agents have shown protective effects against the development of cancer," Buell points out. Mycophenolic acid and TOR inhibitors may provide an oncologic advantage for liver transplant recipients.


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Contact: Sean Wagner
swagner@wiley.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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