NHL diagnoses comparatively high among solid organ transplant patients


According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association people who receive solid organ transplants have twice the risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes, with an especially high rate of incidence among this population for developing cancers such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Researchers with the US National Cancer Institute examined data from over 175,000 transplants between 1987 and 2008. They found 10,656 cancer diagnoses during follow-up, or a figure that was about double the general population.

Unfortunately, researchers could not identify if certain organ transplants created a greater risk for cancer. However, they were able to determine that cancers of the lung, liver, kidney, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma accounted for 43% of those cancers, compared to just 21% of cancers in the general population.

The link to NHL might have something to do with the need for transplant patients to take immunosuppressive medications, although that is merely speculation on the part of researchers.

Engels EA, Pfeiffer RM, Fraumeni JF Jr, et al. Spectrum of cancer risk among US solid organ transplant recipients. JAMA. 2011;306(17):1891-1901

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