De novo malignancies after intestinal and multivisceral transplantation

Transplantation. 2004 Jun 15;77(11):1719-25. doi: 10.1097/


Background: Maintenance immunosuppression required after organ transplantation creates a permissive environment in which cancer cells can proliferate because of lack of natural immunologic surveillance. With more than a decade of clinical experience, this report is the first to address the risk of de novo cancer after intestinal transplantation.

Methods: A total of 168 consecutive intestinal transplant recipients (86 children and 82 adults) were studied, of whom 52% were male and 91% were white. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data was used to count expected rates of de novo cancers in the general population matched for age, sex, and length of follow-up.

Results: With a mean follow-up of 47+/-41 months, 7 (4.2%) patients developed nonlymphoid de novo cancer, with a cumulative risk of 3% at 5 years and 28% at 10 years. Of these malignancies, one was donor-driven adenocarcinoma. With 0.58 being the expected rate of malignancy for the general population, the risk among intestinal recipients was 8.7 times higher (P =0.01). Such morbidity was significantly higher (50 times) among younger patients (<25 years), with a slight male preponderance. Induction immunosuppression was associated with early onset of de novo cancer. Patient survival after diagnosis of de novo cancer was 72% at 1 year, 57% at 2 years, and 29% at 5 years.

Conclusion: With conventional immunosuppression, intestinal recipients are at a significantly higher risk of developing de novo cancer when compared with the general population. Thus, a novel tolerogenic immunosuppressive strategy has been recently implemented to reduce the lifelong need for immunosuppression.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Intestines / transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Organ Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Radiography, Abdominal
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Viscera / transplantation*