Development of Malignancy Following Lung Transplantation Academic Article uri icon


  • Background. A substantial excess risk of certain malignancies has been demonstrated after organ transplantation. Immunosupressive treatment to prevent allograft rejection is probably the main cause. Methods. We reviewed retrospectively all medical records of the 121 patients that underwent lung and heart-lung transplantation from 1992 until December 2004. We compared our results to the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) registry data and previous reports concerning lung transplantation. Results. 102 of the 121 patients survived for 3 months to 12 years. Malignancies developed in 16 patients, as follows: lymphoproliferative disorder in 3, Kaposi's sarcoma in 3, other nonmelanoma skin cancers in 7, urinary bladder transitional cel carcinoma in 3, and colon cancer in 1. Patients with malignancy were older at transplantation than those without (mean ± SD, 54.1±7.8 vs. 49.5±14.2 years; P=0.03). Fourteen had smoked in the past. Four died of bronchiolitis obliterans. In comparison with the ISHLT, we observed more skin cancer and transitional cell carcinoma (12.8% vs. 0.7% and 3.8% vs. 0.03%, respectively) and a similar frequency of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease. Conclusions. We conclude that malignancy is a common complication after lung transplantation. In Israel, which is sunny most of the year, skin cancers and transitional cell carcinoma of bladder are more common. Modification of the immunosuppression late posttransplantation may reduce the risk of cancer. Patients should also be counseled to avoid sun exposure and ensure adequate hydration.

publication date

  • January 1, 2006