Transitional cell carcinoma in renal transplant recipients: a single center experience

Int J Urol. 2008 Jan;15(1):53-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2042.2007.01932.x.


Objective: To present a single center experience in managing transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) in Chinese renal transplant (RTx) recipients.

Methods: In a cohort of 1429 patients who received RTx operation, 27 patients (six males and 21 females) were pathologically diagnosed with TCC in their native urologic system. The data were analyzed retrospectively.

Results: The incidence of TCC was 1.89% and accounted for 41.5% of the patients with post-transplant de novo malignancies among 1429 recipients. Among the 27 recipients with TCC, 77.8% were female, 59.3% had taken a Chinese herb that contains aristolochic acid for at least 2 months before RTx, 51.9% had painless gross hematuria, while 40.7% had microscopic hematuria and/or repeated urologic infection. Two patients were found to have asymptomatic hydronephrosis during a routine check-up. The patients with upper tract carcinoma underwent simultaneous bilateral nephroureterectomy or unilateral nephroureterectomy and bladder cuff resection. Transurethral resection of the bladder tumor was carried out in patients with concomitant or solitary superficial bladder lesions. Intravesical chemotherapy was started and immunosuppressants were adjusted in all patients immediately after the surgery. Tumor recurrence in the bladder was noted in five patients. In one patient, residual and/or recurrent carcinoma in the contralateral pelvis was detected.

Conclusions: Transitional cell carcinoma is the predominant malignancy in Chinese RTx recipients. Female sex, the Chinese herb containing aristolochic acid and immunosuppression are markedly associated with the development of TCC. Risk-adapted screening, strict follow up, standard surgical intervention and dose reduction of immunosuppressants are very important for early diagnosis and treatment of TCC.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / blood
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / therapy
  • Child
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Urologic Neoplasms / blood
  • Urologic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Urologic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Urologic Neoplasms / therapy


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Creatinine