Researchers in Toronto have found that people, who undergo kidney transplant, liver transplant or other solid organ transplants (SOT), are three times more likely to die from cancer.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in SOT patients, with cardiovascular disease as the top leading cause.
The new study in Canada has revealed that the chances of dying early from cancer is more in people, who have received SOT and survived after the operation as compared to general population. The maximum amount of risk of dying from a cancer among these people is skin cancer.
Canada s organ registry was examined by researchers to find the cancer incidence in SOT patients. The analyses followed about 11,000 patients who underwent SOTs in Ontario over a 20-year period.
According to the report, among the patients, about 3,068 have already passed away, and 603 or 20 percent of these deaths were cancer-related.
It was seen that people with SOTs were at a higher risk of dying from cancer as compared to the general population.
As compared to organ recipients who were older than 60 years, children who received a transplant had higher risks for cancer-related deaths.
The study, which was conducted by experts in St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, was featured in the journal JAMA Oncology.
Dr. Nancy Baxter, a colorectal surgeon, of St. Michael’s Hospital, said dying from skin cancer is an uncommon cause of death, but it is an aggressive cancer. She added that both patients and their families should know the risks.
She further added that apart from getting regular skin checkups and avoiding extreme sun exposure, it is significant that patients should accept widely followed cancer prevention strategies.
Baxter and her colleagues have also stated that patients who have undergone SOTs must opt for a modified and customized approach to cancer screening as some organized screening programs have flaws.
Baxter said, We have to make sure we have a very tailored approach to these patients.
Drugs that influence immune system add to risks related to cancer.
Dr. Quoc-Dien Trinh, co-author of the study’s accompanying editorial, said, there are several possible reasons why patients who undergo SOTs are at higher risks of dying from cancer.
He added that the medications used to repress the immune system during organ transplants to prevent organ refusal are possible to add to increased risks for cancer.
Trinh added that the second point is that people with SOTs are more difficult to be treated for cancer as compared to the general population. SOT patients may receive less aggressive cancer treatments due to fear that transplant rejection may occur, he said.