Worse Long-term Patient Survival and Higher Cancer Rates in Liver Transplant Recipients With a History of Smoking

Transplantation. 2015 Sep;99(9):1862-8. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000000671.


Background: This study is a retrospective review of liver transplant (LT) recipients to determine the impact of tobacco exposure on 10-year survival and de novo cancer (CA) incidence.

Methods: The records of 1275 consecutive LT patients were reviewed (2001 to 2011). Patients were categorized as current, previous, or never smokers (NS) at listing for LT. Additionally, smokers were stratified by pack-years of tobacco exposure. Events included patient death, cardiovascular events, and de novo cancers. Cox regression analysis was used to evaluate survival. A complete cause of death analysis is provided, as well as a detailed tumor registry.

Results: Current (n = 279) and previous smokers (n = 323) were more likely to have hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at transplant (25%, 29% vs 18% [NS], P < 0.001), and these 2 groups had higher HCC recurrence rates (21%, 14% vs 11% [NS], P = 0.18). De novo non-HCC CA was higher for current and previous smokers, compared to NS (18%, 16% vs 12% [NS], P = 0.05). Among those with de novo CA (n = 180), the 2 smoking groups were more likely to have non-skin CA (60%, 54% vs 27% [NS], P < 0.001). Patient survival at 10 years was worse for current smokers than the other study groups (55% vs 70%, P < 0.01). These results were largely mirrored with increased tobacco exposure.

Conclusions: The LT outcomes are uniformly worse for patients with a history of smoking, and the risk of negative events increases with increasing tobacco use. Smokers have higher rates of HCC and recurrence, de novo cancer, and worse long-term survival.

Summary statement: This study summarizes the clinical outcomes for 1275 LT patients over 10 years, analyzing the impact of pre transplant recipient tobacco use. There are 47% of patients with a history of smoking. Because of demonstrated higher cancer rates and decreased survival, patients with a significant smoking history should be carefully scrutinized for liver transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Liver Transplantation / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / mortality
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome