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G Ital Nefrol. 2004 Jan-Feb;21 Suppl 26:S67-73.

[Cancer after kidney transplantation].

[Article in Italian]

Author information

  • 1Divisione di Nefrologia, Universit√† e Spedali Civili, Brescia. sandrini.silvio@libero.it


In our experience, cancer is the second cause of death after renal transplantation. In fact, 27% of the deaths we observed at 15-year follow-up were due to neoplasm and 30% to cardiovascular disease. Cancer is a late complication that becomes more common after the fifth year of transplantation. The probability of suffering from cancer is 8.2% and 29.2% at 5 and 15 year, respectively. More specifically, after a 15-year follow-up, the probability rate for skin cancer is 16.4%, solid cancer 12.8%, lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) 3% and Kaposi's sarcoma 2.2%, respectively. PTLD has the highest mortality rate (44% after 12 months from diagnosis), followed by solid cancer (24%) and Kaposi's sarcoma (8%). According to the literature, patient-age is the main risk factor for neoplasm; double therapy (Cyclosporine + Azathioprine) can increase both the skin cancer and PTLD risk but not the risk of solid cancer. No difference between Cyclosporine and Tacrolimus has been observed in the incidence of neoplasm. Both in vitro and in vivo studies have documented the ability of Rapamycin to inhibit primary and metastatic tumour growth. If these results are also obtained on patients, Rapamycin will be of considerable interest for the future of immunosuppression. In cancer patients, immunosuppression must always be reduced, especially when dealing with PTLD. After standard chemotherapy, patient mortality rate due to infectious complications is very high. Therefore, chemotherapy should be a second-choice therapy and administered in reduced doses. Many studies have documented that lymphocytes B-cells CD20 positive PTLD can be efficiently treated with Retuximab.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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