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Organ transplant may double cancer risk

Nov. 2, 2011 at 11:14 PM   |   Comments

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ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- People who get kidney, liver, heart, lung or other organ transplants have an overall cancer risk double that of the general population, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Eric A. Engels of the National Cancer Institute and colleagues linked data on solid organ transplant recipients from the U.S. Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients from1987 to 2008 and 13 state and regional cancer registries.

The data included 175,732 transplants -- 39.7 percent of the U.S. total during 1987 to 2008. Sixty percent of the recipients were male and the median age at transplant was 47.

Fifty-eight percent had kidney transplants, 21.6 percent livers, 10 percent hearts and 4 percent lungs.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found transplant recipients were linked to 10,656 malignancy diagnoses during follow-up -- with analysis indicating an overall doubling of cancer risk compared with the general population.

Risk was increased for 32 different malignancies, some related to known infections such as anal cancer, and others unrelated to infection such as melanoma, thyroid and lip cancers.

The most common malignancies with elevated risk were non-Hodgkin lymphoma at 1,504, and cancers of the lung at 1,344, liver at 930, and kidney at 752, the study said.

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