Cancer in the transplant recipient

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2013 Jul 1;3(7):a015677. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a015677.


Malignancy has become one of the three major causes of death after transplantation in the past decade and is thus increasingly important in all organ transplant programs. Death from cardiovascular disease and infection are both decreasing in frequency from a combination of screening, prophylaxis, aggressive risk factor management, and interventional therapies. Cancer, on the other hand, is poorly and expensively screened for; risk factors are mostly elusive and/or hard to impact on except for the use of immunosuppression itself; and finally therapeutic approaches to the transplant recipient with cancer are often nihilistic. This article provides a review of each of the issues as they come to affect transplantation: cancer before wait-listing, cancer transmission from the donor, cancer after transplantation, outcomes of transplant recipients after a diagnosis of cancer, and the role of screening and therapy in reducing the impact of cancer in transplant recipients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / methods
  • Living Donors
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Virus Diseases / complications
  • Virus Diseases / immunology