Characterization of the long-term cancer risks among liver transplant patients has been hampered by the paucity of sufficiently large cohorts.
The increase over time in the number of liver transplants coupled with improved survival underscores the need to better understand associated long-term health effects.
Dr Ying Jiang and colleagues from Canada conducted a cohort study whose subjects were assembled with data from the population-based Canadian Organ Replacement Registry.
Analyses are based on 2034 patients who received a liver transplant between 1983 and 1998.
The team identified incident cases of cancer through record linkage to the Canadian Cancer Registry.
|Cancer incidence rates were 2.5 times higher than those of the general population|
|Liver Transplantation |
The team compared site-specific cancer incidence rates in the cohort and the general Canadian population by using the standardized incidence ratio.
Stratified analyses were performed to examine variations in risk according to age at transplantation, sex, time since transplantation, and year of transplantation.
Liver transplant recipients had cancer incidence rates that were 2.5 times higher than those of the general population.
The team observed the highest standardized incidence ratio for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Whereas a statistically significant excess was observed for colorectal cancer.
The team found that risks were more pronounced during the first year of follow-up, and among younger transplant patients.
Dr Jiang’s team comments, “Our findings indicate that liver transplant patients face increased risks of developing cancer with respect to the general population.”
“Increased surveillance in this patient population, particularly in the first year following transplantation, and screening for colorectal cancer with modalities for which benefits are already well recognized should be pursued.”