Transplant increases cancer risk

A DONOR kidney may give its recipient a new lease of life, but it also dramatically increases their cancer risk, a major study of solid organ transplants has found.

Among almost 176,000 US patients receiving an organ transplant between 1987 and 2008, more than 10,600 were later diagnosed with a cancer, researchers found.

Kidneys were the most transplanted organ accounting for 58% of recipients, followed by the liver (21%), heart (10%) and lung (4%).

Overall, organ recipients had an elevated risk of 32 different malignancies, the most common being non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and cancers of the lung, liver and kidney.

These four cancer types accounted for 43% of cancer cases among organ recipients compared to 21% in the general population.

“Some malignancies arise from the loss of immunologic control of oncogenic viruses, but others are unrelated to known infections,” the authors said.