Time trends in risk and risk determinants of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in solid organ transplant recipients

Am J Transplant. 2011 Nov;11(11):2472-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03704.x. Epub 2011 Aug 22.


Organ transplantation increases risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), but long-term risk and time trends have seldom been evaluated. Immunosuppressive drug load is an important risk determinant, but the details are unclear. We studied NHL risk in a nationwide Swedish cohort of 11 081 graft recipients transplanted 1970-2008. Relative risks (RRs) were estimated within the cohort and versus the general population by age, sex, follow-up time and calendar period. NHL risk was also assessed by cumulative and average doses of immunosuppressive treatments in a nested case-control design throughout 1997 using conditional logistic regression. We observed 153 NHL cases during 97 853 years of follow-up. Compared with the general population, NHL risk was eightfold increased (RR 7.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.6-9.4), and increased risks persisted after ≥15 years of follow-up among kidney (6.1; 95% CI 3.5-10) and nonkidney recipients (44; 14-103). Among nonkidney recipients, NHL risk was lower in the 2000s compared with the 1990s (0.5; 95% CI 0.3-1.0; p = 0.04). A high average dose of antithymocyte immunoglobulin (ATG) conferred an eightfold increased risk of NHL (OR 8.5; 95% CI 1.9-38). To conclude, posttransplant NHL risk decreased during the last decade among nonkidney recipients, possibly because of a more careful use of ATG, the introduction of new drugs, or both.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antilymphocyte Serum / adverse effects
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Transplants / adverse effects*


  • Antilymphocyte Serum
  • Immunosuppressive Agents