Continuing increased risk of oral/esophageal cancer after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in adults in association with chronic graft-versus-host disease

Ann Oncol. 2014 Feb;25(2):435-41. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdt558. Epub 2014 Jan 7.


Background: The number of long-term survivors after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) showed steady increase in the past two decades. Second malignancies after HSCT are a devastating late complication. We analyzed the incidence of, risk compared with that in the general population, and risk factors for secondary solid cancers.

Patients and methods: Patients were 17 545 adult recipients of a first allogeneic stem cell transplantation between 1990 and 2007 in Japan. Risks of developing secondary solid tumors were compared with general population by using standard incidence ratios (SIRs).

Results: Two-hundred sixty-nine secondary solid cancers were identified. The cumulative incidence was 0.7% [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.6%-0.9%] at 5 years and 1.7% (95% CI, 1.4%-1.9%) at 10 years after transplant. The risk was significantly higher than that in the general population (SIR=1.8, 95% CI, 1.5-2.0). Risk was higher for oral cancer (SIR=15.7, 95% CI, 12.1-20.1), esophageal cancer (SIR=8.5, 95% CI, 6.1-11.5), colon cancer (SIR=1.9, 95% CI, 1.2-2.7), skin cancer (SIR=7.2, 95% CI, 3.9-12.4), and brain/nervous system cancer (SIR=4.1, 95% CI, 1.6-8.4). The risk of developing oral, esophageal, or skin cancer was higher at all times after 1-year post-transplant. Extensive-type chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was a significant risk factor for the development of all solid tumors (RR=1.8, P<0.001), as well as for oral (RR=2.9, P<0.001) and esophageal (RR=5.3, P<0.001) cancers. Limited-type chronic GVHD was an independent risk factor for skin cancers (RR=5.8, P=0.016).

Conclusion: Recipients of allogeneic HSCT had a significantly higher ∼2-fold risk of developing secondary solid cancers than the general population. Lifelong screening for high-risk organ sites, especially oral or esophageal cancers, is important for recipients with active, or a history of, chronic GVHD.

Keywords: hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; late effect; secondary solid cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Female
  • Graft vs Host Disease / complications*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / epidemiology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive / therapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / etiology*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Young Adult