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.
©2011 The Authors Journal compilation © 2011 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.