Pro- and anti-cancer effects of immunosuppressive agents used in organ transplantation

Transplantation. 2004 Jun 27;77(12):1777-82. doi: 10.1097/


Development of cancer is a feared, and increasingly apparent, complication of long-term immunosuppressive therapy in transplant recipients. In addition to the need to reduce cancer occurrence in these patients, therapeutic protocols are lacking to simultaneously attack the malignancy and protect the allograft when neoplasms do occur. In this overview, we present the current literature regarding the pro- and anti-neoplastic effects of immunosuppressive agents on cancer growth and development. Recent experimental findings are paving the way for new therapeutic strategies aimed at both protecting an allograft from immunologic rejection and addressing the problem of cancer in this high-risk population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Carcinogens*
  • Cyclosporine / adverse effects
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Sirolimus / adverse effects
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use
  • Transplantation Immunology*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Carcinogens
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Sirolimus